New year brings new changes during HISD Nutrition Services training

A large crowd of HISD Nutrition Services employees packed Barnett Stadium on Monday to kick off the school year with their annual in-service training event.

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The team welcomed back current and 130 new team members to discuss new processes and updates for the 2014-2015 school year. Nutrition Services Executive General Manager Ray Danilowicz recognized each employee for their hard work and dedication.

“This is a group of people that I don’t think gets thanked enough,” Danilowicz said.

Employees were also briefed on changes to federal guidelines during the in-service, including updated regulations to the “Smart Snacks in Schools” nutrition standards set by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

“We are doing what we need to do in order to serve children healthy, nutritious meal every day,” said Nutrition Services Operations Manager Dwayne Rawls.

Nutrition Services serves 268,700 meals per day and added 31 additional Dinner Meal programs to schools during the 2013-2014 school year. In July, the department announced the expansion of free lunch to 166 schools through the new federal program Community Eligibility Provision (CEP).

“Last year, we set another record by serving nearly 50 million meals to our students in Houston,” Danilowicz said. “Not only is that a lot of meals, but that’s nearly 10,000 more meals served a day than in the previous year.”

Nutrition Services Senior Administrator Audene Chung praised the hard work of each employee and said by making sure no student goes hungry, each team member helps to fuel academic performance, promote life-long dietary health and wellness behaviors within the classroom.

“Every time you smile at a student or serve them a hot meal, you are really making a difference,” Chung said.