Skip to main content
California Department of Education Logo
California Department of Education
Official Letter
California Department of Education
Official Letter
April 14, 2022

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

Celebrating our School Nutrition Professionals

This year marks the ninth annual School Lunch Hero Day, which is being celebrated on Friday, May 6, 2022. School Lunch Hero Day is a day when schools and community members can show their appreciation for the valuable and important contributions that school nutrition professionals offer each and every school day to provide nutritious meals to California’s students and to promote healthy eating and well-being.

This year I've had the honor and privilege of working side-by-side with food service staff in the school meal serving line. I am continually impressed with the professionalism and the concern for student nutrition and access to fresh, healthy, and culturally diverse, quality meals. Across the state, our school food service heroes demonstrate a genuine care that supports a student’s academic success and also their social-emotional well-being.

This dedication, compassion, and excellence in service persists even after two years of tireless meal service during the COVID-19 public health pandemic. During the last year alone, school nutrition professionals have served more than seven million meals! And to this day, they continue to overcome supply chain shortages, staffing challenges, and varying service models to steadfastly guard quality meal service for California’s children and students. Despite these challenges, many continued and even expanded their commitment to scratch cooking and locally sourced foods. These tireless professionals embody the essence of the word “hero.”

I invite you to show your appreciation for these guardians of student health during the week of May 2–6, 2022. Here are a few ideas to help you celebrate your school lunch heroes:

  • Highlight the successes of your school lunch heroes and their service in partnership with your local media. Share their stories of perseverance, dedication, and commitment with your communities.
  • Feature a food service employee or team of employees each day of the week on your school’s social media account.
  • Display banners, posters, or other signs in and around the cafeteria.
  • 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.

Collective gratitude is an essential practice that has the power to reconnect and rebuild our school communities as we work to emerge from the pandemic. I hope you can take some time to implement one of the strategies above, or develop some on your own to show your support and appreciation for these amazing school food professionals.

Additional information is available on the School Nutrition Association School Lunch Hero Day web page at For questions on promoting School Lunch Hero Day, please contact Michael Danzik, Nutrition Education Consultant, Nutrition Services Division, at


Tony Thurmond
State Superintendent of Public Instruction

Last Reviewed: Thursday, April 14, 2022

Recently Posted in Letters

  • 2023 California Teachers of the Year Program (added 17-Jun-2022)
    Letter to County and District Superintendents, Charter School Administrators, and Principals regarding the 2023 California Teachers of the Year Program.
  • Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (added 10-Jun-2022)
    Letter to County and District Superintendents and Charter School Administrators regarding the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery Career Exploration Program.
  • 2022 California Student Mock Election (added 24-May-2022)
    Letter from the California Department of Education and the California Secretary of State to County and District Superintendents, Charter School Administrators, and High School and Middle School Principals regarding the 2022 CA Student Mock Election.
  • Ensuring All Students Learn to Read by 3rd Grade (added 18-May-2022)
    Calling All Schools: The Plan to Ensure all Students Learn to Read by Third Grade
  • CA Labor Management Initiative Summer Institute (added 06-May-2022)
    Letter to County and District Superintendents regarding the 2022 California Labor Management Initiative Summer Institute, being held June 21–23, 2022.

  • Children’s Mental Health Awareness and Wellness (added 04-May-2022)
    Joint letter with the California Health and Human Services Agency to County and District Superintendents, Charter School Administrators, and Middle and High School Principals regarding Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week and Wellness Wednesday.