Lunch Heroes

State Superintendent Urges Students and Parents

to Honor School Lunch Heroes

RICHMOND—Superintendent of Public Instruction James Lane is urging parents and students to show their appreciation — within current social distancing guidelines — for school nutrition professionals on national School Lunch Hero Day, Friday, May 1.

“The efforts of our school nutrition programs to keep children fed during this public health crisis have truly been heroic,” Lane said. “In some divisions, school nutrition staff have teamed up with pupil transportation to deliver meals directly to the homes of children who are unable to get to central feeding stations. And everywhere, they are not only feeding children, they are keeping students and families connected with their school communities.”

On average, school nutrition programs across the state have served more than 160,000 breakfasts and 250,000 lunches a day to children and families since March 23, when Governor Ralph Northam closed schools as a public health measure to slow the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus.

The Virginia Department of Education is supporting their efforts by securing waivers from U.S. Department of Agriculture regulations governing meal delivery and consumption. For example, children may now consume meals off site, and parents and other caregivers may now pick up meals from feeding stations without children present.

“While social distancing may prevent students and parents from doing some of the things they would like to do to show their appreciation, it only takes a moment to share a message on social media to let our dedicated school nutrition professionals — and all those supporting their efforts — know how much they are appreciated,” Lane said.

On Friday, Lane will share a video thanking the commonwealth’s “school lunch heroes.” The video will include images of school nutrition professionals serving children during the pandemic.

“I’d also like to thank the Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth for its support of our school nutrition programs and professionals,” Lane said. The foundation is celebrating School Lunch Hero Day by supporting local efforts to recognize school nutrition staff.

"Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth celebrates School Lunch Hero Day to recognize the hard-working school nutrition staff during this difficult time for Virginia's students, staff, and families,” Executive Director Marty Kilgore said. “We appreciate them now and throughout the year for their work in providing healthy meals for students. School nutrition staff are fundamental in ensuring we empower kids to make healthy choices."

More information — including resources for celebrating School Lunch Hero Day — is available on the School Lunch Hero Day website. More information about Virginia school nutrition programs is available on the VDOE website.

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