Skip to main content
California Department of Education Logo
California Department of Education
Official Letter
California Department of Education
Official Letter
April 4, 2024

Dear County Superintendents, District Superintendents, Chief Business Officials, and Food Service Directors:

School Lunch Hero Day—May 3, 2024

On behalf of the California Department of Education Nutrition Services Division, I would like to encourage all school administrators, staff, students, and parents to celebrate School Lunch Hero Day on Friday, May 3, 2024.

School food professionals in California are committed to increasing scratch cooking and incorporating fresh, locally grown, and even organic ingredients into their school meals so that students have access to quality, flavorful, culturally relevant, and nutritious meals. School Lunch Hero Day provides an excellent opportunity to acknowledge and thank these dedicated and unstoppable heroes and heroines on your school food service team!

Your school food service professionals are not only influential in your local cafeteria, but they also help stand strong and lead the monumental Universal Meals Program (UMP) movement. These culinary professionals are the cornerstone of this program. It is because of their steadfast commitment to student health and desire to improve learning outcomes for our children, that California can offer every student a quality, nutritious breakfast and lunch each and every school day. School meals are often the healthiest meals students eat, changing and shaping the health of students today and tomorrow.

We encourage you to take this opportunity to praise, celebrate, and spotlight nutrition professionals and their one-of-a-kind superpowers. Below are some ways you can join the celebration:

  • Be thankful: Encourage students to create homemade thank you or appreciation cards to share with their favorite school lunch heroes.
  • Get creative: Promote School Lunch Hero Day by creating posters to display in common areas for all students and teachers to read, praise, and enjoy.
  • Give back: Switch roles and let the students and teachers serve their nutrition professionals a well-deserved, scratch cooked, local, fresh meal or snack.
  • Get social: Create a shout out for your nutrition team on social media. Make an individual post for each staff member thanking them and highlighting their unique superpowers. Use the hashtag #SchoolLunchHeroDay.

There are many ways to celebrate our school lunch heroes; find something that fits your student population, campus, meal service, and scheduled events! Your partnership is critical to ensure that this year’s School Lunch Hero Day is the best one yet.

We encourage schools to celebrate school nutrition professionals as valued peers and partners in learning.

For more information on this topic, visit the School Nutrition Association’s 2024 School Lunch Hero Day Campaign at

For questions regarding School Lunch Hero Day, contact Desiree Rojo, Nutrition Education Specialist, by email at



Kim Frinzell, Division Director
Nutrition Services Division
California Department of Education

Last Reviewed: Friday, April 05, 2024
Related Content
  • Child Nutrition Programs Resource Library
    A library of online resources for program operators participating in the Child Nutrition Programs.
  • Farm to School
    Information about California’s Farm to School for School Nutrition Program operators, including background, funding opportunities, best practices, trainings, resources, food safety, policy, compliance guidelines, and contact information.
  • Farm to Summer Celebration Week
    Information about California’s Farm to Summer Celebration Week for summer meal program operators, including background, how to participate, past successes, trainings, partners, resources, best practices, and list of awardees.
  • Nutrition
    Resources and information related to child nutrition, nutrition education, food distribution programs, and the Child Nutrition and Physical Activity Advisory Council.
  • Nutrition Education in California Schools
    Provides benefits of nutrition education, best practices, funding options, state and federal policy, resources, trainings, and contact information for Health and Nutrition Educators in California schools.

Recently Posted in Nutrition

  • SFSP Application Deadline is May 15 (added 09-May-2024)
    The California Department of Education (CDE) Nutrition Services Division would like to remind you that your summer meal application packets for the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) are due May 15.
  • CNAC Student Member Recruitment Reminder (added 07-May-2024)
    The California Department of Education is currently recruiting applicants for the Child Nutrition Advisory Council (CNAC) student member position.
  • USDA Final Rule: School Meal Standards (added 07-May-2024)
    This information announces the release of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Final Rule for Child Nutrition Programs: Meal Patterns Consistent with the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
  • Cargill Meat Solutions Recalls Ground Beef Product (added 03-May-2024)
    Cargill Meat Solutions Recalls Ground Beef Products due to possible E. coli O157:H7 contamination.
  • Summer Meals: Rural Non-congregate Meal Service (added 03-May-2024)
    This management bulletin provides guidance on rural non-congregate meal service options in the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) and Seamless Summer Option (SSO), collectively referred to as the Summer Meal Programs (SMP).