No Kid Hungry’s 2023 Champion

Congratulations to Jurupa Unified School District Director of Nutrition Services Michelle (Missy) Poirier, who has been named to No Kid Hungry’s 2023 Out of School Time Meals Champion Cohort. Ms. Poirier is one of 12 professionals nationwide named to this cohort and the only representative from California. She will be recognized by the JUSD Board of Education at their meeting on Tuesday, January 17. The meeting begins at 6 p.m. at the JUSD Board Room, 4850 Pedley Road in Jurupa Valley. 

Members of this group were selected for their exemplary work to end hunger in their communities through summer and after-school meal programs. 

Building on the work of a highly successful inaugural cohort, this group will work over the next year to raise awareness about summer and after-school meal programs. They also will provide their support and expertise to new program sponsors and work together to develop and share promising practices with providers across the country. 

Ms. Poirier was selected for this honor as a result of her efforts to ensure that Jurupa students have access to nutritious meals and snacks, not only during school time but also after school and in the summer. 

“Kids need proper nutrition to learn, thrive, and grow, both in school and out. These champions work tirelessly to ensure kids have access to three meals a day, every day. A huge part of this is getting them the food they need during times when school breakfasts and lunches aren’t available, like after school and over the summer,” says Paige Pokorney, Program Manager for the No Kid Hungry Center for Best Practices. “We’re so excited to work with and learn from these champions over the next 12 months.” 

Ms. Poirier, who has led the JUSD Nutrition Services team since 2021, advocates for nutritious school meals at the state and national levels. She has worked in school nutrition services since 2013 and in the food service industry for most of her life. The most rewarding part of her job, she said, is seeing the difference she makes each day. 

“Hungry kids just can’t learn,” Poirier said. “Sometimes the only meals kids eat are right here at school. Our goal is to make sure kids have the best opportunity to learn.” 

She said she is grateful for the work No Kid Hungry does and the help the organization has offered to Jurupa Unified. The district has earned $40,000 in grant funds from the organization to help with meals, including after-school and summer meals and snacks. Grant funds also helped to pay for the popular “traveling barbecue” program offered during the summer and for special events during the year at various schools. 

“We are so grateful to Missy and our entire Nutrition Services team,” stated JUSD Superintendent Dr. Trenton Hansen. “We know that many of our students, unfortunately, may not have regular access to the nutritious meals they need to grow and thrive. School meals are an essential resource for our families. This well deserved award honors the work our incredible JUSD team does – even when school is out – to support our students’ well-being so that they can succeed in school, in career, and in life.”

Michelle Poirier preparing a lunch tray with after school snacks for an elementary school Michelle Poirier with a lunch tray containing after school snacks for an elementary school