March 14, 2023
Video available at: https://youtu.be/yuyU1u2A-dQ
Dedicated Cooks, Food Service Workers, and Aides Feed New York City Students
With 1 in 4 Children in New York City Facing Hunger, These Food Service Professionals Are Charged with Combating This Crisis Daily
NEW YORK – New York City Mayor Eric Adams, New York City Department of Education (DOE) Chancellor David Banks, and No Kid Hungry New York today recognized 35 "NYC Hunger Heroes" – extraordinary professionals from the DOE's Office of Food and Nutrition Services who have gone above and beyond to provide kids with access to nutritious meals every day. These 35 individuals come from each of the city's school districts and food service administration teams. For the first time, this year's Hunger Heroes include inspectors and compliance professionals in addition to the dedicated cafeteria staff who directly serve 800,000 meals to students every day. With more than 400,000 children in New York City facing hunger, or about one in four, the heroes who plan, prepare, and serve school meals are on the front lines of this crisis.
"My mother was a school food worker; I saw how hard she worked. And I know how hard every one of our DOE cooks and food service workers works every day to deliver for our children with an extra garnish, a smile, and a word of encouragement," said Mayor Adams. "One in four children in our city might experience hunger this year, and that's why it's so important that our Hunger Heroes are helping to combat hunger across our city on a daily basis. Not all heroes wear capes, some wear aprons, and, today, we are proud to honor those heroes."
"Thank you to our food service workers who show up daily to ensure our kids are well nourished and ready to face the day," said First Deputy Mayor Sheena Wright. "Children with access to nutritious food have lower absenteeism rates and higher test scores. The administration is committed to ensuring that more children eat school meals daily. The children of New York are our future, and I am proud they have these Hunger Heroes to support them on their journey."
"Our food service workers have a constant presence and play a pivotal role in the lives of our students," said DOE Chancellor Banks. "Beyond preparing and serving delicious and nutritious food, they are friends, caretakers, and caring adults who check in on our kids and ensure they receive the nourishment and support they need. There are no words to express my gratitude to the Hunger Heroes being recognized today and to all of the food service workers in schools across the city doing this critical work for our young people."
"From the administrative staff who make sure that the food is delivered and arrives on time, to the on-site food workers who prepare and serve the meals, school food service workers ensure our kids are nourished and ready to learn every day," said Mayor's Office of Food Policy Executive Director Kate MacKenzie. "It's an honor to celebrate and appreciate these heroes today alongside Mayor Adams and Chancellor Banks."
"No matter what challenges children may face at home, they can count on our Hunger Heroes to provide nutritious meals every school day – often going above and beyond to make sure New York City's kids have a healthy foundation to learn," said Rachel Sabella, director, No Kid Hungry New York. "These are exemplary professionals who are vital to school communities, and we are grateful for their work. At No Kid Hungry, we know how much goes into planning, preparing, and serving school meals, and we celebrate the contributions of every food services professional."
"No child should have to endure hunger," said New York City Council Majority Whip Selvena N. Brooks-Powers. "Today, we honor these big-hearted public servants – Hunger Heroes – who help ensure our children have access to meals. Too many kids in New York face hunger, and these heroes are working tirelessly to address this crisis every day."
"We cannot ignore that 1 in 4 children in New York City go to sleep hungry," said New York City Councilmember Rita Joseph. "The food service professionals at our schools play a critical role in combatting this crisis on a daily basis by ensuring that our students have access to food so that they can succeed in the classroom. I commend their tireless efforts and unwavering commitment to the well-being of our city's young people."
"I applaud Mayor Eric Adams, Schools Chancellor David Banks, and No Kid Hungry New York for acknowledging the tremendous work of the 35 Hunger Heroes that have been champions in the fight against food insecurity," said New York City Council Member Farah Louis. "With 1 in 4 children in New York City facing hunger, we owe resounding thanks to these exceptional community members that prepare, plan, and feed our students. I look forward to working with my colleagues to further expand access to food, as no New Yorker should go hungry. "
"Hunger Heroes shows a real genuine commitment and dedication combating childhood hunger, emphasizing the phrase ‘It Takes a Village To Raise a Child'," said Shaun D. Francois I, president, DC37 & president, Local 372. "They should be recognized as serving healthy and nutritious meals to all children in New York City schools."