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Angels in Monroe County – A School Nutrition Christmas Story

Georgia’s School Nutrition Professionals are tasked with a range of roles that eventually get a quality school meal into the hands of a student. They know the importance of what they do and consider sacrosanct this mission of developing the whole-child through good nutrition. From local Directors, State Agency Staff to School Nutrition Professionals directly on the frontlines, there has been fervor and faithfulness and fixity of purpose, and often these collide to shine a bright light on the hearts that are serving Georgia’s children, one school meal at a time.  

Here’s one of many stories of Georgia’s School Nutrition Heroes going above and beyond the call of duty in this most beautiful time of year.  

In 2019 Brandi Marks, School Nutrition Manager at Monroe County’s Samuel Hubbard Elementary School, used her personal resources to bring Christmas cheer to a local child through an ‘Angel’ adoption program. On behalf of her School Nutrition team, she purchased and delivered gifts for the child whose identity she would never know. Such is the nature of Angel gifting, much like School Nutrition, its pleasure comes from simply knowing, deep within, that you have made a difference in the life of a child.

This year, notwithstanding its challenges, Brandi quietly set out to do the same. And as she planned, one of her School Nutrition Assistants offered to join with her. As word spread among the School Nutrition Professionals at Samuel Hubbard Elementary School, their entire team decided that it was more important to give than to receive, particularly in this COVID-19 year.  Together, Brandi and School Nutrition Assistants Deidre Griffin, Minnie Ralls, Pauline Moore, Jessica McMurray, and Erica Bareky canceled their annual team gift exchange and channeled their energy, resources, and generous spirits towards purchasing gifts for more Monroe County children.  


The Samuel Hubbard Elementary School Nutrition Team on Pizza day, during Curbside meal deliveries and with their bags of gifts for Monroe County children.

“This Team certainly has a heart of gold, not just now, but always” said Lisa Budd, Director of School Nutrition for Monroe County Schools as she pointed out that these School Nutrition Professionals were among the several awesome teams serving in her district.

As state-wide shutdowns loomed large this year due to COVID-19, Georgia’s School Nutrition Professionals kept the doors of school cafeterias open to provide quality meals to Georgia children, together serving more than 111+ Million school meals since March of this year. This is how we are fueling Georgia’s future. 

Merry Christmas and a happy New Year!