The National School Lunch Program (NSLP) serves nearly 30 million children every school day. President John F. Kennedy created National School Lunch Week (NSLW) in 1962 to promote the importance of a healthy school lunch in a child’s life and the impact it has inside and outside of the classroom. This week, we honor Dolores Howard of Caliber Public Schools located in Vallejo, California. Dolores’ every day mission is to help her 900+ students achieve educational equity by providing fresh, healthy meals for all. Take a peek inside the day of our school lunch hero:
What is your role at Caliber and what does your day-to-day look like?
Hello I am Dolores Howard, Meal Coordinator Lead at Caliber Change Makers Academy, and this is my seventh year. My day starts at 6:30 am each day and goes to 3 pm. I begin first by putting my things away and washing my hands. I come ready and eager to serve and provide meals to our students! The meal team and my day starts by prepping and bagging breakfast to be delivered to over 35 classes. Once the insulated bags are returned, we remove all remaining breakfast and enter the data into our system; for the purpose of keeping track of our waste. Next, we prepare snacks, cook/serve lunch, clean/do paperwork, and look over the food order.
Why is serving healthy school lunches important to you and what difference are they making in the lives of students?
We serve a diverse community where students may not always have access to healthy meals, so it is important to me that students are provided with healthy food options daily. Serving healthy school lunches is also important to me because I want students to understand eating fruits and veggies are essential for their growth.
What keeps you coming to work each day or inspires you the most about what you do?
I have created strong relationships with students and families through food. Their smiling faces inspire and motivate me to serve this community! I am honored to work with an amazing team who is flexible and dedicated to this work!
Which meal is the #1 favorite served at your school? Or What was your meal program like when you first started and how has it evolved?
Our students’ number one Rev food option is pizza, both pepperoni and cheese. As our campus has grown so has our processes to be more productive and efficient.
Give us a fun fact about yourself!
I enjoy cooking for my family, especially during the holidays! I have always wanted to cater, and I have cooked for over hundreds of people.
Dolores, we see your cape and THANK YOU for all you do in serving your school community!
We wish all of our school lunch heroes a week of celebrating the impact!