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Graves County School District joins SNA to celebrate early May as National School Nutrition Employee Week 2017
“Between preparing healthy meals for America’s students, adhering to strict nutrition standards, navigating student food allergies, and offering service with a smile, school nutrition professionals are true heroes,” says the School Nutrition Association on its website, https://schoolnutrition.org.

Graves County Schools nutrition director Shelina McClain agrees. “We have a wonderful group of 53 employees in our school cafeterias,” she said. “Most start their workday before dawn and prepare two meals for thousands of students before noon. The cafeteria managers not only work in the preparation of food with their staffs, but also handle administrative duties, working with both their school administration and the district’s central office. We take every opportunity to celebrate their excellent efforts, hard work, and dedication to providing our students great meals!”

“The School Nutrition Association has designated Friday, May 5, at its Fifth Annual School Lunch Hero Day, to end School Nutrition Employee Week [May1-5] with a bang,” says the website. “SNA has partnered with author Jarrett J. Krosoczka, of the ‘Lunch Lady’ book series, to remind everyone—directors, managers, parents, students, and school staff—that school nutrition employees are superheroes that deserve some recognition.”

Graves County is an All-Community Eligibility Provision district. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture website, that means “it qualifies for a meal service option for schools and school districts in low-income areas. A key provision of The Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act, CEP allows the nation’s highest poverty schools and districts to serve breakfast and lunch at no cost to all enrolled students without the burden of collecting household applications. Instead, schools that adopt CEP are reimbursed using a formula based on the percentage of students participating in other specific means-tested programs, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families.”

McClain provided figures to put into perspective cafeteria workers’ massive job each day. She said the average daily participation- for breakfast includes some 3,236 students. The lunch average daily participation is even higher, at 3,481. During the 2016-17 school year, meals served exceeded 526,000 breakfasts and 566,000 lunches. The perennially-popular pizza added up to 98,064 servings. Outpacing even pizza was the number of servings of “chicken smackers” at an astounding 166,320 servings.
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