School News

Urbandale Nutrition Services Celebrates School Lunch Hero Day By Giving Back

On May 1, 2015, the Urbandale Community School District (UCSD) Nutrition Services Department celebrated School Lunch Hero Day by donating a set of 10 very special books to every elementary school in the district. The School Nutrition Association partnered with Jarrett J. Krosoczka, author of the Lunch Lady book series, to showcase school nutrition employees as superheroes. Krosoczka is the author/illustrator of countless children’s books and graphic novels, including Good Night, Monkey Boy, Baghead and the Lunch Lady series. His new project, School Lunch Hero Day, reveals how cafeteria staff provide more than just food, and illustrates how powerful a heart-felt thank you can be. School Lunch Hero Day kicks off School Nutrition Employee Week from May 4 to May 8, 2015.

Jensen Elementary Students Receiving Lunch Lady Book Series_site
Jensen Elementary Students and Nutrition Services Team sharing the new Lunch Lady book series. Ashlyn Wilson, Colton Byers, Arayah Chambers, Amelia Weese, Mary Treese, Administrative Manager for Nutrition Services; Ryan Knight, Luis Benitez, Denis Toric, Linda Nelson, Nutrition Services; Jim Epstein; Nutrition Services; Jaxson Maass, Arabella Page, and Nicoh Koehl.

“In Urbandale, School Lunch Hero Day provides our team the opportunity to share how we strive to make a positive difference in the students we serve throughout their elementary, middle school and high school years,” said Cathy Conklin, Director of Nutrition Services, UCSD. “Between preparing healthy meals for students, adhering to strict nutritional standards established by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and offering service with a smile, school nutrition professionals in Urbandale, and throughout our nation, are true heroes!”

Valerius Elementary Book Giving_site
Lunch Lady book series being delivered to Valerius Elementary! Becky Kestner, Nutrition Services; Cathy Conklin, Director of Nutrition Services; Rene Van Zante, Media Associate; and Dolores Escoto, Nutrition Services.


Krosoczka was inspired by his own encounters with his elementary school lunch lady.  Upon visiting his elementary school many years later to make a presentation, the lunch lady that he so fondly remembered was still at his school. Krosoczka gave her a painting, and two years later when she passed way, he attended her funeral; to his surprise, the painting was there. This inspired him to promote a day for School Lunch Heroes everywhere.

Webster Elementary Students Reading Lunch Lady Book Series_site
Webster Elementary Students, Lauren Nepper and Genevieve Wilson, enjoying the Lunch Lady book series.

The Urbandale Nutrition Services Department prepares and serves nutritional meals for over 3,900 students on a daily basis. Most restaurants would be hard-pressed to maintain the level of quality, service and dedication that is required in order to support such a substantial demand. By incorporating Quality/Continual Improvement into every facet of the department, students are able to have greater voice in menu options and staff feel a greater sense of purpose knowing they are providing greater choice and enjoyment for students. The mission of the Nutrition Services Department is to ensure food of high nutritious quality is made available to each student in the district in an atmosphere of cleanliness, cheerfulness and personal caring. The District extends a sincere thank you and appreciates all the hard work, countless tasks and supreme attention to detail that the Nutrition Services Department upholds on a daily basis. To learn more about how Urbandale is transforming education, visit:

District News Article Image: Lesa Smith; Vesna Djuric; Nyonuah Saylee; Sara Salvini, Kitchen Manager; and Gary Craig.