Lilian Arreguin, food services director
Keppel Union (Calif.) School District Food Services Dept.
Nominator: Georgia Halliman, board member, Keppel Union School District
“On March 13, 2019, we closed all our schools. No one knew what to do. Our food services director went into action. She had no help and our students never missed a meal.
By March 16, 2019, our food Services director was out there with her staff, ensuring our students were fed and that our community was feeling food-secure.
But, let me tell you something about this person...in the beginning we had nowhere to get masks. We were struggling. Ms. Arreguin, food services director, not only bought a sewing machine, she bought material and found people to make masks so her staff could be safe.
And in order to increase our counts, she created special menus so that the community would come. She dressed up in kid friendly outfits like pajama days.
This director was out there dancing with her crew...wearing an bunny outfit, and making boo bags and bunny bags for our students.
Our little town served over one million meals...and we only have a population of 10,000 or less.
Our parents came to know all our food staff by name, but, it did not stop there.
This amazing food services director was willing to work side by side with her staff to ensure that staff morale was up to par.
Unlike other districts that were having trouble serving meals and keeping staff at work, our district had no problem finding people to work.
Additionally, our director was able to increase the participation of our school food program.
And, unlike other food services programs that are suffering after this COVID pandemic, our district has continued to increase participation by at least 30%; while districts now are currently suffering; KUSD is THRIVING!!!
This is NO ACCIDENT...and in the middle of all this pandemic, this food services director went through a federal audit, CEP (Community Eligibility Program) base year while continuing to enhance our food services program!
Currently, we are offering our students special events like Healthy Banana Split bars and BBQs at every site.”