Hoover schools’ child nutrition director wins Southeast award

The nationwide nonprofit School Nutrition Association has named Melinda Bonner, the director of meals and vitamin providers for Hoover City Schools, because the group’s Southeast regional Director of the Year.

It’s the primary time a baby vitamin director from Alabama has received the award.

Bonner has 35 years of meals and vitamin service expertise and has been working in faculties for 15 years. She beforehand labored in hospitals and nursing properties, and he or she took over as director of the meals and vitamin program for Hoover City Schools eight years in the past.

The Director of the Year award acknowledges extraordinary contributions of college vitamin administrators who handle efficient faculty meal applications that present wholesome, appetizing meals to college students.

As winner of the Southeast regional award, Bonner was chosen amongst nominees from 9 Southeastern states, together with Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.

“Melinda Bonner places her complete coronary heart into her job, dedicating her time to make sure every baby in her district has entry to wholesome, balanced and appetizing faculty meal choices,” School Nutrition Association President Reginald Ross stated.

She oversees 109 baby vitamin workers within the faculties and two others within the central workplace. Since taking the lead function for Hoover City Schools, Bonner has labored to extend effectivity and productiveness of the cafeterias.

She streamlined elementary faculty serving traces and added highschool espresso retailers providing grab-n-go “sensible snacks” and refrigerated merchandising machines at varied areas, in addition to carried out a wholesome classroom snack program. Students can use their baby vitamin program accounts at any of the alternate serving choices, which tremendously elevated faculty meal entry.

Bonner additionally led an effort to transform a retired faculty bus to a faculty meal meals truck referred to as “Meals In Motion,” feeding children at alternate areas through the summer season, such because the Hoover Public Library and residence complexes.

When faculties have been shut down as a consequence of COVID-19 within the spring of final 12 months, Hoover’s baby vitamin workers continued working, offering about 36,000 meals to youngsters with curbside service between March and the tip of May, Bonner stated.

Then, through the summer season of 2020, faculty vitamin employees served about 60,000 extra meals, Bonner stated. Because of the pandemic, the U.S. Department of Agriculture allowed faculties to increase their summer season feeding program to incorporate areas exterior of lower-income faculty zones.

This summer season, meals might be served from summer season faculties at Hoover and Spain Park excessive faculties and a literacy camp at Gwin Elementary School, in addition to curbside service from Berry and Bumpus center faculties and the Hoover Public Library, Bonner stated.

In an effort to draw college students and make the cafeteria extra enjoyable, Bonner has inspired managers to embellish, costume up in costume and supply actions throughout National School Lunch and Breakfast Weeks and to supply food-themed days. Decorations, bulletin board provides and sources are offered to the college cafeteria managers along side the particular menus to extend pupil engagement.

Bonner additionally appears to be like for tactics to teach her workers and provides them new coaching alternatives, coordinating visitor audio system and connecting members with consultants to show them new abilities. During National School Lunch Week, Bonner invitations the mayor, City Council, faculty board and superintendent to serve meals in class cafeterias, offering a chance to share a firsthand take a look at federal necessities and nationwide meal program mandates.

She spent six years on the Alabama School Nutrition Board and served because the School Nutrition Foundation’s ambassador for the 2019-20 faculty 12 months. She additionally encourages different workers to attend School Nutrition Association coaching and conferences. The School Nutrition Association has about 50,000 members throughout the nation.

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