Do You Know These Michigan School Food Heroes?
School food service workers continue to provide comforting and nutritious meals to students even though the lunch line has looked a lot different this year.
Michigan’s dairy farmers applaud their efforts to feed students nutrient-rich foods, including milk, so they are ready to learn whether at home or in-person. We are recognizing four Michigan school food service professionals for going above and beyond in serving their community as part of the Michigan Food Heroes Contest. We thank them for nourishing our kids – they are true heroes!
#1: Dawn Pully
Dawn is the Food Service Director at Bendle Public Schools. At the start of the pandemic, her team stood on their feet for hours making and packing 500 to 700 to-go student meals a day. Dawn braved the elements alongside of them, distributing food all while trying to make it fun for everyone.
“The right thing to do is not always the easiest and I definitely learned that over the last year,” she said. “This year has made me LOVE my job even more. I want to thank my team for pushing right on through the tough times.”
Dawn was nominated by her colleague Nancy who added, “It is truly incredible what she does for our community and the students. She never stops!” From March 2020 to February 2021, their team served approximately 505,000 meals and 50,000 snacks.
#2: Heidi Leffew
Heidi is the head cook at Bear Lake School. Heidi’s dedication to ensuring all kids are fed didn’t start when the pandemic started. Not only does she steam vegetables minutes before lunchtime so they don’t get soggy, Heidi has worked tirelessly to serve nutritious meals to Laker students in-person, curbside, on the weekends and via deliveries.
“I am blessed to be involved with such a great team here at Bear Lake School from my director on down,” said Heidi. “The last year has been crazy but together we worked it out.”
Food Service Director for Bear Lake Schools, Tim Klenow, nominated Heidi who added, “Heidi is someone who does everything in their power for the good of their students, their community and her family without asking anything in return. I just want her to see that she is making a difference.”
#3: Jennifer Raymond-Brown
Jenn is the Food Service Director at Jefferson Schools. She goes above and beyond to make sure the meals served are nutritious, delicious and appetizing.
“Working to ensure all of our students are fed during a global pandemic has been very challenging and rewarding,” said Jenn. ” I am grateful to work with an amazing team within a terrific school district and with a very appreciating community.”
She was nominated by Millie Grow who added, “Jenn is a phenomenal worker and supervisor. She has dedicated herself to serving the Jefferson community, making a difficult year for so many of our families a bit easier.”
#4: Kristine Syzmanski
Kris works for Coleman Schools. During the pandemic and while floods occurred in her area, Kris worked tirelessly to organize the meal distribution program, ensure staff and volunteers understood their role and assisted with safety protocols.
“Several towns in our area got hit with a catastrophic flood a few months into the pandemic. It was devastating and they are still dealing with the aftermath,” said Kris. “We made sure the children were properly fed the entire time. They came first at that time and will always continue to be our first priority. There are no measures when it comes to the children in this community.”
Superintendent for Coleman Community Schools, Jennifer McCormack, nominated Kris who added, “She always is, but especially in those circumstances, truly outstanding.”