Turning school buses into summertime mobile cafes to combat food insecurity and striving to nurture students into tomorrow’s B&I foodservice customers earned Sara Gasiorowski the selection as FoodService Director’s 2016 FSD of the Year.
Gasiorowski was chosen for the honor from among the publication’s FSDs of the Month award winners for 2015. Her selection by past award winners and FoodService Director’s advisory group was announced at the magazine’s annual conference on culinary trends, MenuDirections, held this year in Jacksonville, Fla.
As director of child nutrition services at Metropolitan School District of Wayne Township, Gasiorowski runs 16 kitchens in Marion County, Ind. In a district where 78 percent of students qualify for free or reduced-price lunches, she capitalizes on grant opportunities, dishing out 11,800 daily meals through the Breakfast in the Classroom program.
In 2014, the director decentralized her district’s summer meal program when she converted two school buses into summertime food distribution outposts, reaching students at schools, mobile-home parks and apartment complexes. In 31 days last summer, the program served 53,000 meals—20 percent more than were served the year before.
She was also celebrated at MenuDirections’ awards banquet for her support and mentorship of fellow foodservice industry professionals.
“This is a shout-out to the whole K-12 segment,” she says. “I feel truly blessed. I work with such an amazing group, and I take such pride in taking care of our children. I can’t imagine doing anything better in life than feeding our future. I am speechless.”
Gasiorowski noted that her mission was to feed children so they could move on to business-and-industry feeding accounts.
In addition to pursuing that goal through her work at Wayne Township, Gasiorowski is also a volunteer with the Jump IN for Healthy Kids Task Force and a regional director of the School Nutrition Association, for which she created a new organizational paradigm.