May 15, 2018

DJJ Celebrates School Lunch Hero Day Statewide

On May 4th, Department of Juvenile Justice facilities joined Georgia schools to celebrate School Lunch Hero Day nationally. School Lunch Hero Day honors the nutrition and food service professionals who serve 30 million students each day. Support Services staff from Central Office visited multiple facilities to recognize DJJ’s food service staff for their hard work. Each food service team in the 26 secure facilities received a gift card and a note of appreciation.

“On School Lunch Hero Day, and every day, we celebrate and thank the DJJ food service professionals for their hard work and dedication in providing nourishment and encouragement to the youth in our care,” said Lauren Gean, Director of Nutrition Services. “I truly appreciate their ability to navigate strict nutrition guidelines, health inspections, and record keeping, all while keeping a positive attitude and motivating our youth to grow strong both physically and mentally.” Gean visited DeKalb Regional Youth Detention Center (DeKalb RYDC) to personally thank the food service staff.

Stephanie Henesy, Regional Food Service Administrator, took time to visit the Atlanta Youth Development Campus (Atlanta YDC) and Metro RYDC to take part in their School Lunch Hero celebrations. In preparation, the Office of Health Services put together baskets of goodies for the facilities: “Our food service teams make three meals and three snacks a day happen 365 days under any circumstance. The title hero suites them perfectly, and I’m proud that DJJ participates in recognizing their talent and dedication. We love our school lunch heroes!” said Henesy.

Jessika Anderson, Dietitian for DJJ, traveled to Marietta RYDC and Martha K. Glaze RYDC for School Lunch Hero Day. She distributed cookies she and other staff members had baked and thanked the two food service teams for the positive impact they have on the youth. Leadership at Martha K. Glaze RYDC treated their food services staff to a luncheon.

Margaret Cawood, Deputy Commissioner of Support Services, visited Rome RYDC and Dalton RYDC. Cawood toured the kitchens, helped the food service staff serve lunch and ate with the youths. Rome RYDC Director Gail Wise and her staff hosted a luncheon for their food service staff and the Rome youth decorated posters and wrote thank you notes to show their appreciation to the men and women who prepare their meals each day. “I am very fortunate to work with so many dedicated and caring men and women on our food service teams. Our youth are not only grateful for the delicious meals and snacks, but also appreciate the daily smiles and encouragement from the food service staff,” said Cawood.

Additionally, Lisa Mantz, Assistant Deputy Commissioner of Support Services, visited Wilkes RYDC, Milledgeville YDC, Augusta RYDC and Augusta YDC and Debra McDuffie, Regional Food Service Administrator, visited Eastman RYDC and Eastman YDC.

School Lunch Hero Day is a celebration hosted by Jarrett J. Krosoczka, author and illustrator of the popular Lunch Lady graphic novel series and the School Nutrition. Inspired by his own childhood school lunch hero, Jean J. Cariglia and Jarrett J. Krosoczka created the popular Lunch Lady series of graphic novels for kids, starring a crime-fighting school nutrition professional and her faithful sidekick, Betty.

The Department of Juvenile Justice appreciates the dedication of its food service professionals.

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Eastman RYDC celebrates School Lunch Hero Day.

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Eastman YDC leadership gives Certificates of Appreciation to their food service staff members.

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Martha K. Glaze RYDC honors food service staff members with a luncheon.

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Marietta RYDC celebrates School Lunch Hero Day.


The Office of Health Services sent treats to the food service staff at Metro RYDC on School Lunch Hero Day.


The food service team at Metro RYDC smiles for a photo on School Lunch Hero Day.


Youths at Rome RYDC write notes of appreciation to the food service staff.


Deputy Commissioner Margaret Cawood helps serve lunch to youths at Rome RYDC.


Food Service Staff from Rome RYDC celebrate School Lunch Hero Day.


Cawood visits Dalton RYDC in honor of School Lunch Hero Day.