Harryman named breakfast hero for Harvey heroics

Harryman named breakfast hero for Harvey heroics
Posted on 05/21/2018
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Photo of Marry Harryman and John Puder
Texas Hunger Initiative representative, John Puder presents Mary Harryman, PISD Child Nutrition Director with a banner for being named a 2018 Breakfast Hero Contest Winner.

By: Jade Wise
Pasadena ISD Communications

While movies about superheroes dominate the nation’s box offices, Pasadena ISD has a superhero of its own to celebrate. 

PISD Child Nutrition Director Mary Harryman was recently named one of only five national winners of the 2018 Breakfast Hero Contest by the anti-hunger campaign, No Kid Hungry, for her work following Hurricane Harvey.

The contest, launched during National School Breakfast Week in March, celebrates champions who make school breakfast possible for kids in need. The list of winners includes educators and administrators from school districts across the country who were nominated by members of their local community.

“Mary has worked tirelessly to ensure students at Pasadena ISD continue to receive healthy meals following Hurricane Harvey,” said Texas Hunger Initiative representative John Puder, who also nominated Harryman. “Not only has Pasadena worked to provide meals under challenging conditions, but they’ve expanded alternative breakfast options and after school meal programs.”

Harryman said that the district and her department faced numerous obstacles and challenges post Harvey, but the first challenge was taking care of her employees and staffing the kitchens.

“Out of our 650 child nutrition employees, 125 experienced significant flooding and 50 lost everything,” said Harryman. “Harvey hit our department hard and created staffing challenges. In some cases, we had to move employees to different campuses closer to where they lived because they lost their vehicles or were displaced.” 

She said that by doing this, it allowed the district to begin serving students as soon as they came back to campus following Harvey.

“We didn’t just want to offer an emergency box meal or sack lunch, but we wanted to give them a hot meal. This required us working with our different vendors to get food delivered and every student got a complete hot meal for breakfast and lunch,” said Harryman.

Harryman said that the effects from Harvey are still being felt across the community. According to her latest numbers, the percentage of students on free and reduced meal plans has risen from 78 percent at the beginning of the school year to over 86 percent.
Puder said that all these factors played a large role on his decision into why he nominated Harryman for the award.

“Despite all the challenges Pasadena ISD faced, not one single meal was missed,” said Puder. “It is very impressive that Mary was able to keep the kitchens open to feed students hot meals.”

To find out more about Pasadena ISD’s free and reduced meal program, visit http://www1.pasadenaisd.org/cms/One.aspx?portalId=80772&pageId=239156. 

About No Kid Hungry
No child should go hungry in America. But 1 in 6 kids will face hunger this year. No Kid Hungry is ending childhood hunger through effective programs that provide kids with the food they need. This is a problem we know how to solve. No Kid Hungry is a campaign of Share Our Strength, an organization working to end hunger and poverty. Join us at NoKidHungry.org.