Jane Andersen, foodservice director at Lawton Bronson Community School District in Iowa, has been chosen as the 2022 NutriStudents K-12 Foodservice Hero! School Lunch Hero Day, which is celebrated annually on the first Friday in May, was created by the School Nutrition Association to recognize hard-working foodservice staff members for everything they do throughout the school year to support students and learning.
Jane started working in school foodservice at Lawton Bronson in the year 2000. After moving to the area, she was looking for a job that would allow her to work while her kids were in school. After 22 years, she has made a career of it – spending the last 5 years as director.
Jane Anderson (far left) with her team from Lawton Bronson High School.
Working in school nutrition has its ups and downs. The best part is the students. Jane says, “I love when the elementary students come up after lunch with a smile and say, ‘That was the best lunch yet.’ It's the smiles that you get from the students that warms your heart. We don’t know who might come to school hungry or who has food insecurities. I want to make sure that all students get fed a healthy nutritious meal and can go back to the classroom and learn. This is why I work hard to make sure the students are fed.”
Jane, dressed up as Mildred the Lunch Lady (from the Lunch Lady book series) with one of her elementary students.
With this school year being a little more challenging than last year due to the food supply shortages, staff shortage, Jane says with the help of NutriStudents K-12 and Client Relations Director Shelly Miller, it has made her planning of meals so much easier. “They have fabulous menus, great recipes and always something new to try. Best part, all the meals follow our state guidelines. Also, I have a wonderful staff to make these menus happen.” Jane’s positive attitude is reflected in her motto for this year: “All the challenges we are facing are just a bump in the road, and we will get through this together, with respect and a positive attitude.”
As our 2022 NutriStudents K-12 Foodservice Hero, Jane and her elementary and high school teams have received Foodservice Hero aprons and hats.
Jane with her elementary school team.