Student nutrition professionals are vital to the well-being of students in Laurens County School Ditrict 55 (LCSD 55). Focused on adhering to strict nutrition standards, navigating student food allergies, and offering service with a smile each day, these “heroes” are in schools early each morning to prepare healthy meals for students.
In recognition of the hard work and commitment of student nutrition professionals, LCSD 55 will celebrate School Lunch Hero Day on May 6. Started in 2013, School Lunch Hero Day was designed by the School Nutrition Association and Jarrett Krosoczka, author of the Lunch Lady graphic novels series. The special day provides an opportunity for parents, students, school staff, and the community to thank those who provide over 3,500 breakfasts and 4,000 lunches throughout the district each day.
“Student nutrition professionals balance many roles and follow numerous federal, state, and local regulations to ensure safe and healthy meals are available in our schools. School Lunch Hero Day provides an opportunity for us to extend special appreciation to these hardworking heroes,” said Wanda Knight, LCSD 55 Director of Student Nutrition Services.
Federal nutrition standards ensure that school cafeterias offer low-fat or fat-free milk, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein. School meals also meet limits on calories, sodium, and unhealthy fats. “For many children, school lunch is the most important and nutrient-rich meal of their day,” said Knight.
LCSD 55 Superintedent Dr. Ameca Thomas commended the district’s student nutrition department for working tirelessly to provide meals for students. “When our community was suddenly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and schools had to close, our student nutrition professionals never waivered in their commitment to ensure that students had meals available to them,” Thomas said. “These heroes offered meals through curbside pick-up, and many loaded meals on school buses to make deliveries in neighborhoods.” From the initial impact of the pandemic through June of 2021, the district served 1.9 million meals.
For several years, the district has provided meals for students during summer break. District officials said this will continue in the summer of 2022 and that schedules for dates, times, and locations will be published in the coming weeks.
According to Knight, “Providing nutritious meals is what we are called to do and we are committed to doing it as best we can.”
The School Nutrition Association (SNA) is a national, non-profit professional organization representing more than 55,000 school nutrition professionals across the country. Founded in 1946, SNA and its members are dedicated to making healthy school meals and nutrition education available to all students. To find out more about today’s school meals, visit www.schoolnutrition.org/SchoolMeals.