Maria Anderson is passionate about keeping her students’ plates full—and she does it all while having a full professional plate herself. She’s a Nutrition Coordinator for both the Roseville and Saint Anthony-New Brighton school districts in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area. For both districts, she’s responsible for menu development, marketing, farm-to-school planning and so much more.
With a 2-day notice in March of 2020, she and her teams pulled together a Covid meal strategy and never looked back. Even in facing an unprecedented situation, there were plenty of ways her districts were able to be a bright spot for their students.
“During the summer, we did 7-day meal bundles (breakfast, lunch, super snack). We partnered with Every Meal in Roseville MN to offer non-perishable grocery items to kids that needed extra support.”
“Last year in the beginning of the pandemic, we were trying different things and we decided that we weren't going to send bulk foods that required preparation so that it was self-sufficient (due to some kids experiencing homelessness or being under other circumstances without the right tools). So, we decided to make ready-to-eat frozen meals. Being intentional and accessible to all families was important.”
“With MN Central Kitchen out of Second Harvest Heartland, we offered family style meals every weekend. We worked with our cultural liaisons to support our Roseville Family Table program to make sure meals were appropriate for families because Roseville is an extremely diverse community (approximately 82 languages other than English). We just wanted one more thing that parents didn’t have to think about so that families could sit at the table together.”
“Our breakfasts were nearly all General Mills because of their wide variety, and they are the kids’ favorites—like Mini Bagels, Mini Cinnis and so many more.”
What Does the Future Look Like?
“One important effort is our MN Thursday menu which is focused on local farms. We lost a year, so we wanted to accelerate. We also want to help small local farms due to the negative COVID-19 impacts.”
“Recipe development has been intentional in trying to make our menus look like our student population (Hmong, West African, Somali, and more) so that they are all comfortable.”
Follow along with Maria and the Roseville School District as they roll out exciting new menus and continue to go above and beyond for their community!
Website: Click here.