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School Nutrition Professionals – Our Everyday Heroes

Posted by Dr. Janey Thornton, Deputy Under Secretary, USDA Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services in Food and Nutrition
Feb 21, 2017

As the school year begins to wind down, let’s take time to acknowledge the unsung heroes in our nation’s school cafeterias.  School nutrition employees contribute greatly to a child’s short- and long-term health and academic success, but their contributions often go without recognition.  Today is School Lunch Hero Day, and next week (May 5-9) is School Nutrition Employee Week.  Let’s take this opportunity to extend our thanks for all that school nutrition employees do to support our children throughout the entire school year.

School nutrition employees often arrive well before the school buses begin rolling in, working to ensure that students have access to a healthy breakfast to start the school day.  Their commitment to these early mornings is invaluable, as we know that breakfast plays a key role in a child’s ability to learn.  Before the breakfast period ends, staff members are often doing double duty as they begin preparations for the lunch meal.  They’re on their feet, working hard to ensure that our school children receive healthy and tasty meals to fuel their day.

In fact, our nation’s school nutrition employees prepare and serve meals to over 30 million individual students each school day!  Not only do they prepare and serve the meals, but many have a moment to connect with every single student coming through the cafeteria on a daily basis—who else in a school building can make that claim?

Throughout my career, I have been continually impressed by school nutrition employees’ dedication to students.  From east to west and north to south, I have found that school nutrition employees take pride in their work and strive to do what is best for the students.  They truly play a role in students’ health, happiness, and success—and for this, we thank these everyday heroes.

Thank you, school nutrition professionals, for all the great work that you do each day.

P.S. Agriculture Under Secretary Kevin Concannon wanted to say thank you as well.



Category/Topic: Food and Nutrition

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Fred A. McKillop
May 05, 2014

Our firm is working with a 501c3 charity (Leg Up Farm) to create something very unique involving vertical agriculture and a farmer's market to provide job training and sustainable agriculture for children with learning disabilities and veterans with PTSD. Please contact....FAM

Elaine Kitt
May 05, 2014

I am a Cafeteria Manager in the DCPS system I would like to thank Deputy Janney and Secretary Concannon for the appreciation of my job that I've been doing for 30 yrs. and ENJOY every mintue. THANKS

Tiffany Privett
May 07, 2014

We live in Watervliet, Michigan and have unfortunately been told by several students, our two kids included, that not only are your choices and selection very slim and not really all that healthy, there is actually not enough food to accommodate the number of students that purchase school lunch. This is very unsettling.