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Food Services Director receives Golden Apple Award

Crystal Kalahar, Food Service Director, holding Golden Apple Award Congratulations to Crystal Kalahar, Food Service Director, recipient of the University of Arizona Nutrition Network’s Golden Apple Award. Ms. Kalahar was recognized for her commitment to serving healthy, attractive, and affordable school meals to students.

Since joining the Marana district in 2013, Ms. Kalahar has brought a tireless passion to ensuring students receive the highest quality meals available while keeping prices as low as possible. Her contagious passion for excellence in school foods has caused a cultural shift in the 85 member department, where multi-level involvement in menu planning, meal preparation and presentation are considered by all team members. Crystal regularly brings in new exciting products for demos and taste tests by the foods team members at all levels and student groups. This empowerment of our 16 area kitchens has allowed some amazing changes to happen to menus, preparation, and participation levels. Recently Crystal was able to secure grant funding to start the district-wide “Take 2” program. The grant allowed her to purchase Ekon-O-Pak equipment and bags for all sites. Now fresh food is packaged in appropriate serving sizes. Students get the items they want, lines move faster, food stays fresher and waste has been reduced significantly. In addition to successfully serving about 4200 breakfasts and 6000 lunches each day, Ms. Kalahar’s team provides remote access meals to children over school breaks via the Marana Cares Mobile program. This former school bus now mobile café makes several stops each day during breaks to take foods where our children need them most.