For her work managing Orange County Public Schools summer feeding program, Taylor Education Administration Complex cafeteria manager Cheryl Perkins was named to the No Kid Hungry 2019 Summer Hero Hall of Fame.
The nationwide honor recognizes and celebrates those who go above and beyond to find ways to ensure children get the food and nutrition they need during the summer months.
Perkins has managed the summer meals program at TEAC for the past five years. She leads a team of 10 summer food service workers who prepare hot and cold meals for the children in Orange County both at TEAC and at seven satellite locations throughout the county.
“Our summer food service program is called “Seamless Summer” and Cheryl managed our very busy kitchen seamlessly,” said Linda Blair, Orange County Public Schools’ Supervisor of School Nutrition. “With her leadership and team spirit, we were able to provide 10,706 meals to children across the county. Cheryl’s dynamic leadership skills included management of staff schedules, food and supply waste reduction and keen attention to quality assurance.”
Only about 15 percent of Virginia students who rely on free or reduced-price school lunches are also getting free meals through summer programs. When schools close, students no longer get school meals, and families struggle to put food on the table. Summer hunger can have a long-term impact on a child’s health, ability to learn and general well-being. No Kid Hungry and its partners focus on connecting kids to the summer meals program as a critical way to end childhood hunger.
“This roster of Hall of Fame inductees not only showcases the incredible commitment that exists throughout the Commonwealth to help feed children experiencing hunger, but also the deep wells of creativity and energy to make it all possible,” said Claire Mansfield, director of No Kid Hungry Virginia. “Our congratulations to these deserving recipients whom I know will continue to make big contributions to the wellbeing of so many children in Virginia.”
Perkins, who has worked for the school division 14 years, said the recognition was a shock, but “it’s been an amazing opportunity to provide this service for the children.”
She said the program is gratifying and she enjoyed seeing participants recognize cafeteria workers from their home schools during the summer program.
“The award was great, but we do this because we love doing it and being with the kids,” she said.
“I am fortunate to work with Cheryl and am so happy that she is our summer meals manager,” Blair added.