BATAVIA — Susan Presher has spent over 20 years within the kids vitamin business, and for the reason that pandemic began in March 2020, she labored tirelessly to supply a whole bunch of hundreds of meals to the Batavia Metropolis Faculty District neighborhood.
Susan, the district’s meals service director, was highlighted by New York Starvation Heroes for Instructor Appreciation Week. She was nominated by her daughter Laurel Presher — the assistant college vitamin director at East Irondequoit Central Faculty District — for her work all through the pandemic.
“In the course of the pandemic, we continued to feed college students and our neighborhood, and it was the best problem of my 24 yr profession,” Susan mentioned. “I’ve been impressed past measure with the stamina and resilience of our college vitamin staff. With out fail they rose to each single request these previous 14 months as we wove out and in of a number of studying modules.”
The Batavia staff supplied college meals seven days per week all through the complete pandemic, and Susan mentioned Batavia’s administration supported quite a few assets to cut back meals insecurity and put the neighborhood first. The college is now a neighborhood college providing assets and entry to meals for anybody in want.
“We are able to join households to locations the place sizzling meals can be found; Lydia’s Soup Kitchen and The Salvation Military are two organizations that come to thoughts,” she mentioned. “We could have a Summer time Feeding Program right here in Batavia that begins July 1 by Aug. 31 with entry to meals for all kids underneath the age of 18 at quite a few areas all through our district.
“One other great alternative that’s at the moment out there is named SNAP and supplies you with vouchers to buy at native farm markets, this system doubles your greenback,” she continued. “We have to educate and encourage our neighborhood to purchase entire meals to maximise their monetary and well being advantages.”
In relation to youngster vitamin, Susan mentioned it’s greater than making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
“We’ve advanced into a classy phase of the varsity day,” Susan mentioned. “For starters we’re a self-sufficient enterprise throughout the college district. We’re not affiliated with the varsity price range, and our college vitamin program is accountable for all monetary points of feeding as much as 2000 college students a day.
“There are NYS and native Genesee County well being division pointers that we should strictly adhere to,” she mentioned. “There’s a lot to maintain us busy, together with dietary pointers, staffing, sanitation practices, meal elements, commodity meals and menu planning. It’s definitely by no means a uninteresting second on this enterprise.”
The enterprise has additionally modified quite a bit since she started in 1996, with the best change coming from the Wholesome Starvation Free Youngsters Act began by then-first woman Michele Obama.
The act supplied assets to extend the vitamin high quality of meals; set requirements for varsity wellness; set necessary minimums on fruit greens and entire grains; diminished portion sizes; and set a sensible snack initiative for all a la cart gross sales.
As for the long run, Susan mentioned she hopes the career can proceed to assist the connection of farm to high school purchases in addition to academic practices that give college students entry to wholesome, domestically grown meals.
“This not solely strengthens the native financial system; it empowers kids and their households to make knowledgeable selections about their meals,” she mentioned. “I hope that no youngster ever feels starvation and has the flexibility to have entry to meals. My large dream is that Common Faculties Meal Program (a invoice in Congress to make meals free for each youngster in class) turns into a actuality for all colleges. It is going to be a whole sport changer for everybody.”
Laurel mentioned she nominated her mom as a result of she has not solely been a hero within the college vitamin subject, however he personal hero in life.
“Lately, college vitamin professionals have began to sit on the desk and have been within the highlight now greater than ever and have been acknowledged as an ‘important’ work drive because of pandemic,” she mentioned. “From the time college shut down on a Friday, March 13, my mother, like many others, didn’t miss a beat. She had meals ready for households to choose up the next Monday. Figuring out the quantity of labor that went into the planning, bodily labor, winter climate components, the warmth of the summer time, sporting a masks, the fixed altering of pointers, coming residence on the finish of lengthy days exhausted, she didn’t miss a beat.”