Fortune Schools, Miss. J

Fortune Schools was established in 1989 with the mission to graduate high achieving students of good character prepared for college and citizenship in a democratic society. Thirty-four years later, the Fortune team works tirelessly towards making that mission a reality for their students. We all know that learning starts when hunger ends. It was our great pleasure recently to see a true school lunch hero, Ms. Jonnisha Andrews (a.k.a. Miss. J to her scholars) in action. Here is her story:

What is your role at Fortune Schools?

I am the Food Service Manager.

Who do you work closely with throughout your school or district to make decisions about your nutrition program?

I work with Mallory Arevalos who is our Director of Fiscal Services.

What are your top 4 goals for your food nutrition program?

  1. To ensure the health and safety of our scholars.
  2. To create positive attitudes toward good nutrition.
  3. To ensure service exceeds the district’s expectation.
  4. To have 100% participation.

How have your students responded to the meal program offered at Fortune?

My scholars are so funny and very vocal. We were trying a new lunch item, and I asked the scholars what they thought, and they said it was “bussin.” I was initially confused, but then they told me that it meant they liked it.

What keeps you coming to work each day or inspires you the most about what you do?

I would have to say, for me, it’s the scholars; no matter what campus I am visiting, they always make it a point to brighten my day.

Thank you Miss. J for all of your hard work and dedication. You are making a difference in the lives of the students with the meals you serve!

To cap off National School Lunch Week, we would like to celebrate the work of a new school partner, Golden Charter Academy. Golden Charter Academy opened its doors in the Fall of 2021. Located in the Fresno Unified School District, Golden Charter is the first of its kind, offering a curriculum built on animal and plant life. Fresno Chaffee Zoo serves as an extension of the classroom for students to learn to be citizens in a worldwide community and stewards of the planet. Eating nutritious and fresh school meals feels like a natural extension of GCA’s mission. Here is a brief look into how Mr. Golden, President and CEO of Golden Charter Academy, is thinking about the importance of school meals at GCA.

Why is serving healthy fresh food important to Golden Charter?

Serving healthy fresh food is important to GCA because when you have a healthy body, you have a healthy mind. In order for our students to be at their very best, it is important that we give them the best quality of food possible.

Why did Golden Charter choose Revolution Foods for their partner for breakfast, lunch, and snack?

Golden Charter Academy chose Revolution Foods to be our nutritional partner because of the quality of food they offer and the food is very delicious.

What do you think students want/need from their school meal programs?

Golden Charter Academy students wanted hot meals and Revolution Foods helped provide that. They give us a variety of options to serve our students what they desire.

What is Golden Charter’s biggest obstacle in the cafeteria?

Golden Charter Academy’s biggest obstacle in the cafeteria is….. Don’t have one. (Hooray! The Rev Team celebrates this!)

Give us a fun fact!

A fun fact about Golden Charter Academy is that all leftover food goes into our compost bins to provide soil for our school garden.

Here are a few pictures of the wonderful work that is happening around GCA:

Mr. Golden, THANK YOU for all you do in serving your school community!

We hope all of our school lunch heroes had an amazing week celebrating the impact you have on students’ lives! Every week should be School Lunch Week!

National School Lunch Week Hero_Dolores Howard

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! 

As Congress extends pandemic school lunch waivers and a growing number of states pass or consider universal meal laws, Revolution Foods expands by 50% to ensure all children, seniors and communities can access healthy and fresh food.

Oakland, CA., July 19, 2022. Revolution Foods, a Public Benefit Corporation and B-Corporation committed to serving fresh, healthy, delicious, meals accessible to all, today announced the acquisition of Better 4 You Meals (B4YM), the leading provider of school and senior citizen fresh, vended meal services in California and Nevada. The B4YM acquisition will enable Revolution Foods to grow its production and community impact by approximately 50%.

“We wake up every day focused on how we personally feed students and families in the communities in which we live and operate,” said Dominic Engels, Chief Executive Officer of Revolution Food. “Combining efforts with B4YM will better equip us to make good on the promise of California’s new Universal Meals program, and the growing number of programs and initiatives taking aim at food insecurity around the country.”

Food insecurity now touches more than 40 million Americans, including 22 million school-aged children who rely on schools for their meals. Despite the extension of federal waivers following the long-awaited and recent signing of the Keep Kids Fed Act in late June, community organizations and schools are continuing to struggle to meet demand amidst continued supply chain pressures in labor, raw materials and logistics.

Founded in 2006 with a commitment to providing healthy meals for all, Revolution Foods has delivered more than 800 million fresh meals that meet or exceed federal nutrition and ingredient standards. Crafted locally now with over 1,200 employees in Oakland, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Denver, Boston, New Jersey, and Washington D.C., Revolution Foods and B4YM now reach over 6,800 schools, community organizations, and seniors nationwide. The acquisition of B4YM strengthens Revolution Foods’ impact and reach specifically in California and Nevada.

“Since day one, we have admired Revolution Foods’ work here in California and nationally,” said Fernando Castillo, B4YM CEO. “As Public Benefit Corporation with an abiding commitment to the communities we serve, I know that the combination of our philosophies and food can have an even more profound impact on providing more healthful alternatives to food insecurity.”