Mayor Adams, Chancellor Banks, And No Kid Hungry NY Honor NYC’s “Hunger Heroes” And Food Education Champions

March 7, 2024

NYC Mayor Eric Adams, NYC Public Schools (NYCPS) Chancellor David Banks, and No Kid Hungry New York today recognized 53 “NYC Hunger Heroes” and Food Education Champions.

Extraordinary professionals who have gone above and beyond to provide kids with access to nutritious meals every day. These 53 workers, dedicated cafeteria staff who directly serve 800,000 meals to students every day, are on the frontlines of combatting hunger in NYCPS. Each of today’s honorees awarded by No Kid Hungry New York was nominated by leadership from each of the city’s school districts and Office of Food and Nutrition food service administration teams, including inspectors and compliance professionals. For the first time, this year’s honorees include 15 Food Education champions, whose work across the city is focused on educating students on how to make informed, nutritious choices and ensure they develop lifelong, healthy habits.

“My mother was a school food worker; I saw how hard she worked. And I know how hard every one of our NYCPS cooks and food service workers works every day to deliver for our children with an extra garnish, a smile, and a word of encouragement,” said Mayor Adams. “One in five children in our city might experience hunger this year, and that’s why it’s so important that our Hunger Heroes and Food Education Champions are helping to combat hunger across our city daily and educate our students on healthy choices. Not all heroes wear capes, some wear aprons, and, today, we are proud to honor those heroes.” 

“This City’s food service workers are integral to the Adams administration’s efforts to address hunger and improve healthy nutrition in our schools,” said Ana J. Almanzar, Deputy Mayor for Strategic Initiatives. “These heroes not only prepare delicious and nutritious meals for our students, but they also shape their healthy eating habits for life. I applaud their longstanding service and their daily commitment to our young people.”


“I’m proud to recognize our incredible Hunger Heroes for going above and beyond in support of our school communities,” said Schools Chancellor David C. Banks. “In addition to ensuring our children are nourished, our food service workers look out for our kids and cheer them on. They are critical to promoting health and wellness in our schools, along with a strong school culture. I’m grateful to have this opportunity to celebrate our Hunger Heroes, and every food service worker, today and every day.”

“The children of New York City know they can count on our Hunger Heroes, who go above and beyond to provide nutritious meals every school day” said Rachel Sabella, Director of No Kid Hungry New York. “These are exemplary professionals who make it possible for kids to focus and learn in the classroom. We know how much goes into the planning, preparing, and serving of school meals. No Kid Hungry has the deepest gratitude for the contributions of every food services professional.”

With more than 270,000 children in New York City facing hunger, or about one in five, these heroes who plan, prepare, and serve school meals, are truly on the front lines of this crisis. Last year, the Adams administration recognized 35 NYC Hunger Heroes in a celebration of food professionals who went above and beyond to provide students with access to healthy and nutritious meals each day.


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In June 2023, the Mayor’s Office of Food Policy released its Food Education Roadmap, with a goal to expand the number of schools able to offer enhanced food education.  Through a grant selection process, 60 schools have been able to partner with organizations to expand their Food Education offerings.

“It’s an honor to celebrate and appreciate these heroes today alongside Chancellor Banks,” said Mayor’s Office of Food Policy Executive Director Kate MacKenzie. “Students deserve not only to enjoy delicious, nutritious meals at schools, but also to understand why our schools serve what they do. I am so excited to see this collaboration between food service workers and food educators to ensure that all of our students are well fed and are active, informed participants in making choices about the food they eat.”

School meal programs play a critical role in ensuring kids get three healthy meals a day while also helping families stretch their food budget. That’s why they are at the heart of No Kid Hungry’s work to end child hunger.

No Kid Hungry is a campaign of the national non-profit Share Our Strength, working to end childhood hunger by helping launch and improve programs that give all kids the healthy food they need to thrive. Through advocacy work, awareness building and grant funding, No Kid Hungry New York is working to connect kids in New York City and across the state with school meals, summer meals and SNAP – ensuring they get three nutritious meals a day, all year long. In recent years, No Kid Hungry New York has worked with local partners across the state to make breakfast part of the school day and expand the number of districts providing no-cost school meals to all students.

2024 NYC Hunger Heroes

Manhattan

  • District 1: Doris Cambridge
  • District 2: Cheryl Williams
  • District 3: Melany Martine
  • District 4: Beverly Johnson
  • District 5: Rachael Bailey
  • District 6: Ana Cruz

Bronx

  • District 7: Marcia Reid
  • District 8: Pamela Dunn
  • District 9: Deomatie Diaz
  • District 10: Yokasta Pichardo
  • District 11: Towanela Anderson
  • District 12: Jose Rivas

Brooklyn

  • District 13: Kim Atkinson, Saadia Lahhab
  • District 14: Facenda Lourdes
  • Distirct 15: Anna Yolene Nicolas Denis
  • District 16: Jackie Garner
  • District 18: Maudriana Patrick
  • District 19: Curtis Davis
  • District 20: Magdalena Walters
  • District 21: Lillian Argueta
  • District 22: MD Mannan,
  • District 23: Shellon Gomes
  • District 32: Enriqueta Sirin

Queens

  • District 24: Gregory Secor
  • District 25: Frances Lamangna
  • District 26: Jennifer Mootoo
  • District 27: Frances Phillips
  • District 28: Lenor Reid
  • District 29: Donovan Pellington
  • District 30: Isabel Perez

Staten Island

  • District 31: Angela Font

Robert Rivera (Operational Initiatives Unit), Eugenia Klotsos (Pest Management), Charles Gilmore (Warehouse), Aida Moyet (Food Safety), Eric Mcbride (Compliance)

2024 Food Education Champions

Manhattan

  • District 3: Keira Dillon
  • District 6: Lauren Ginsberg, Teresa Montano

Bronx

  • District 11: Jessica Dean
  • District 17: Donalin Gumbs
  • District 75: Jeremy Kottkamp, Angela Everett, Nomi Otero, Onelia Graciano

Brooklyn

  • District 14: Jeremin Cruz
  • District 18: Katrina Duncan, Justine Shiskoff, Diana D’Amico
  • District 32: Jeanne Salchli

Queens

  • District 25: Helene Sorkin
  • District 28: Rose Valerio
  • District 29: Taikischa Buie-Orakwue

Photo credit: New York City Public Schools (NYCPS).


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