Three CUSD employees inducted into state’s League of Hunger Heroes

By Elysse James

Three of Capistrano Unified’s Food and Nutrition Services employees were inducted recently into the California League of Hunger Heroes by No Kid Hungry California.

Shannon Illingworth, nutrition specialist; Diane Stagner, operations supervisor; and Lisa Stilwagner, operations manager; are being honored for their daily fight to get nutritious meals to children and their families during the pandemic.

Illingworth, Stagner, and Stilwagner were nominated based on their tireless work, No Kid Hungry California stated.

In its 11th week of meal distribution, CUSD has served 22,356 meals this week, Illingworth said. The total for the 11 weeks of preparing and distributing meals is 304,835, she said.

Children receive two breakfasts and two lunches on Monday and three breakfasts and three lunches on Wednesday.

June 3 is the final day of school year lunch pickups, with the Summer Meal Program beginning Monday, June 15 through Friday, July 31 at three school sites: San Juan Elementary (31642 El Camino Real, San Juan Capistrano), Las Palmas Elementary (1101 Calle Puente, San Clemente), and Marco Forster Middle School (25601 Camino Del Avion, San Juan Capistrano).

A total of 328 Californians in 31 school districts joined the League of Hunger Heroes on May 27, 2020 — also dedicated as #ThankAHungerHero Day. No Kid Hungry California has provided more than $2 million in grants to nonprofits and schools that provide free meals to children and families during the pandemic response.

“We are so grateful to the California League of Hunger Heroes – people who have worked tirelessly, fiercely, and creatively to feed kids during the current public health crisis. Thank you for all you have done for the children and families in your community!” stated No Kid Hungry California Director Kathy Saile.

To pick up meals, people stay in their vehicles and line up at the participating school sites. As the vehicles approach the curb, signal how many meals are needed by holding up that number of fingers. Staff then place meals on a cart next to the curb, and step away at least 6 feet before the person gets out of their vehicle to collect the food, doing their best to not touch the cart. If the cart is touched, it will be sanitized before the next meal is placed.

This keeps everyone a safe distance apart to protect both employees and families.

Meals are distributed between 11:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. Monday and Wednesday.

This service takes place in the parking lot or bus lane at these participating schools: 

  • Carl Hankey K-8: 27252 Nubles, Mission Viejo
  • Castille Elementary: 24042 Vía La Coruna, Mission Viejo
  • Hidden Hills Elementary: 25142 Hidden Hills Rd, Laguna Niguel
  • Las Flores Elementary: 25862 Antonio Pkwy, Rancho Santa Margarita
  • Las Palmas Elementary: 1101 Calle Puente, San Clemente
  • Marblehead Elementary: 2410 Via Turqueza, San Clemente
  • Marco Forster Middle School: 25601 Camino Del Avion, San Juan Capistrano
  • Marian Bergeson Elementary: 25302 Rancho Niguel Rd, Laguna Niguel
  • Dana Elementary: 24242 La Cresta Dr, Dana Point
  • San Juan Elementary: 31642 El Camino Real, San Juan Capistrano
  • Wood Canyon Elementary: 23431 Knollwood, Aliso Viejo

Visit the Food & Nutrition Services Department website for more information.

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