With a lot of kids heading back to the classroom this year, the clatter of lunch trays is joyously heard, and the delicious smells of a hot meal prepared with love drift in grade school cafeterias. 

School foodservice professionals are heroes on the front lines of fighting hunger in our communities. Nothing has proven that more than the last year. School food programs across the country adapted to new ways of feeding more children, tackling changes that often came quickly, and were driven by the unprecedented challenges before them. 

Tyson K-12 has long supported school foodservice programs and is dedicated to serving their mission to feed more children. Over the past seven years, Tyson K-12 has awarded nearly $150,000 in grant funding to school foodservice programs through their unique Great Grant Giveaway. Each year, school foodservice districts are encouraged to enter a drawing for the Great Grant Giveaway, and winning names are selected at random. In 2021, six K-12 school foodservice teams were awarded grants through the Great Grant Giveaway program, totaling $25,000 in funding. Grant recipients can use the funds to purchase equipment or materials that can help enhance their foodservice operations. 

“We are so excited to receive this grant from the Tyson K-12 team,” said Wendy Burrus, child nutrition director for Farmington Public Schools in Arkansas, one of this year’s grant recipients. “It will most likely be used for smallwares that we have not been able to purchase.” 

The Great Grant Giveaway typically takes place in-person during the School Nutrition Association’s Annual National Conference at the Tyson K-12 booth. However, with in-person conferences being cancelled, our Tyson K-12 team held the grant giveaway virtually on their Facebook page, as they did last year.

“Schools across the country are embarking on another challenging school year,” said Brook Thomas, Tyson K-12 channel marketing manager. “School foodservice operators are working hard to offer their students nutritious, great-tasting meals, while continuing to adhere to safety standards. Our hope is Tyson K-12’s Great Grant Giveaway can help operators purchase the extra items they need, or repair the equipment that need repairs, or boost morale for their staff of lunch heroes.”

The Great Grant Giveaway winners for 2021 are:

  • Julie Kotwitz, Dallas Independent School District
  • Julia Rehder, Henry County Public Schools
  • Nicole Vandermeid, Brighton Central School District
  • Teresa Smith, Atlantic City Public Schools 
  • Erica York, Texarkana Arkansas School District
  • Aletha Cazares, Farmington Public Schools

Learn more about how Tyson K-12 supports school foodservice programs here: tysonk12.com.