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ACPS Food Service Director nationally recognized for work feeding children

Published: Nov. 17, 2020 at 7:40 AM EST
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ALACHUA COUNTY, Fla. (WCJB) - Since starting as Director of Food and Nutrition Services in 2006, Maria Eunice has been bettering the lives of students one meal at a time.

Eunice has earned the Golden Foodservice Director of the Year Award which is the highest honor of the Food Service Achievement Management Excellence Awards.

From providing healthy meals options to improving food presentation, Eunice has implemented many initiatives. One of her biggest accomplishments is the increase in participation in the summer meals program.

According to a release from ACPS, participation in the district’s summer meal program has jumped 264% for breakfast and 369% for lunch during her tenure.

Eunice said over 3.6 million meals have been provided to children in Alachua County since March 30, 2020.

“We really try to think about the community and assist and make sure we feed the students while there while they’re going through these tough times. That’s the most important thing to us in food nutrition,” said Eunice.

She said she’s honored to be nationally recognized, but said she couldn’t have done it without the help of her team.

ACPS Spokesperson, Jackie Johnson, said Eunice and her team go above and beyond the call of duty.

"Certainly it’s much harder for students to learn when they are hungry so that’s why food-service is an essential part of the districts mission, said Johnson. “They go above and beyond the call of duty to make sure that students are not going hungry in our district and that includes over breaks, such as the upcoming Thanksgiving break, over weekends, and even during this pandemic.”

Any child under the age of 18 can still take advantage of the summer meal program through the end of the school year. Double meals will be handed out today and Thursday to make up for missed days next week due to Thanksgiving.

Eunice will formally be recognized at the virtual FAME Awards Ceremony on January 14.

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