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California Department of Education
Official Letter
California Department of Education
Official Letter
April 23, 2021

Dear County and District Superintendents, Charter School Administrators, and School Principals:

Celebrating our School Lunch Heroes

I am extremely pleased to share with you that School Lunch Hero Day is Friday, May 7, 2021. School Lunch Hero Day is a day when schools and community members can show their appreciation for the important work that school nutrition professionals do each and every day to provide nutritious meals to California’s students.

School nutrition professionals have always supported student success and learning by providing nutritious meals and snacks throughout the school year and during the summer. Students who eat school meals have lower rates of food insecurity, lower rates of obesity, and overall better health. Students who eat school meals have improved attendance, behavior, academic performance, and achievement as well as decreased tardiness. Historically, California’s child nutrition programs served a billion meals and snacks annually.

This year, school nutrition professionals were called to do more than ever before. In comparison to the same month in the year before, meals served during June 2020 increased by over 66 percent, and meals served in July 2020 increased by an astonishing 360 percent. School nutrition professionals rose to the challenge presented by the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) without hesitation—adjusting meal service hours, providing home delivery and grab-and-go options, adding additional meals, and expanding service so that children from all California communities continued to have dependable access to healthy food during the COVID-19 pandemic. Today, more than ever, these professionals embody the essence of the word “hero.”

Whether students are learning remotely, in-person, or via a hybrid model, school nutrition professionals deserve our gratitude. I invite you to show your appreciation during the week of May 3–7, 2021.

Here are a few ideas to help you celebrate your school lunch heroes:

  • Display banners, posters, or other signs in your meal pick up areas or in and around the cafeteria.
  • Ask families to decorate their cars with messages of gratitude and chant a “thank you” from their car or even synchronize applause while waiting to pick up their meals. Likewise, students in the cafeteria can sing a song of gratitude.
  • Have students write “thank you” cards at home or during class or draw their favorite school meals.
  • Create a video with students sharing what they enjoy about school lunch and voicing their appreciation.
  • Invite school board members and district leaders to serve lunch for a day in honor of the school nutrition professionals.
  • Present your lunch heroes with certificates of appreciation for outstanding school and community service during the COVID-19 pandemic.

It is my experience in talking to and meeting with so many dedicated school lunch heroes that they love serving our students and helping their communities. Let’s make sure we show our support and appreciation!

Additional information can be found at the School Nutrition Association School Lunch Hero Day web page at https://schoolnutrition.org/schoollunchheroday. For questions on promoting School Lunch Hero Day, please contact Michael Danzik, Nutrition Education Consultant, Nutrition Services Division, by email at mdanzik@cde.ca.gov.

Sincerely,

Tony Thurmond
State Superintendent of Public Instruction

TT:md
Last Reviewed: Friday, April 23, 2021

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