Excellence in Summer Meals

For families who count on school breakfast and lunch, the summer months can stress tight food budgets. The USDA offers free meals to children age 18 and younger through the Summer Food Service Program to help alleviate some of this strain.

To help increase program quality and participation in the Central Texas region, the THI Austin office recognizes summer meals sponsors that go above and beyond with their programs. The Excellence in Summer Meals Campaign (ESMC) is a project of the Texas Hunger Initiative, the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) and United Way of Metropolitan Dallas to recognize Summer Meals sponsoring organizations that are utilizing best practices in programming, operations, food quality, outreach, and marketing. We are excited to our most recent Excellence in Summer Meals recognized sponsors! See the infographic below for the full list.


ESMC 2019


Breakfast Champions

What is Breakfast Champions?

The Texas Hunger Initiative – Austin and Share Our Strength have joined together to create “Breakfast Champions, a program that helps match an education stakeholder who has had a positive experience with an alternative breakfast program with a school that is instituting a new breakfast method. These champions will give guidance to help ensure that the breakfast programs in Central Texas reach as many children as possible. According to a study by Share Our Strength, one out of four children in Texas struggle with hunger. This program looks to help this statistic become a thing of the past by increasing the number of students who participate in a kid-friendly, free breakfast program.
breakfast champions logo

Vision: Children that participate in free and reduced-price lunch are also eating breakfast every day at school.

Mission: Through strategic partnerships, sharing of best practices, and modeling standards of breakfast from kitchen to classroom, Breakfast Champions will coach and support new districts implementing alternative service models to increase participation in school breakfast.

“Because hungry brains don't learn, it is imperative that we provide a balanced morning meal for each student. In addition to meeting their nutritional needs, Breakfast in the Classroom is a time for children to practice meal etiquette, improve social skills, and start their day on a positive note."

- Sarah Farias, Principal, Elgin Elementary

What do they do?

Our Breakfast Champions have experience running successful breakfast programs that are proven to increase participation. This program brings Breakfast Champions together to share their methods and ideas to help other schools and districts to have the same level of success. We are working to develop tools that will make it easy to draw more students to a breakfast program. We will pair a Breakfast Champion with an interested school stakeholder from a district that seeks help, to share best practices and ideas. No one should have to reinvent the wheel when it comes to breakfast success. Breakfast Champions can help make feeding more kids a no-brainer.

Who is a champion?

A Breakfast Champion is a teacher, parent, administrator, or nutrition service staff member who has had a positive experience implementing an Alternative Service Model like Grab and Go, Second Chance Breakfast, Breakfast in the Hallway or Classroom, and many others. Our champions love to share their success so that others can give their students the same benefits of breakfast.

Meet the Breakfast Champions:

Heather Putrizzini Name: Heather Petruzzini
Title: Principal
School District: Austin ISD (Cunningham Elementary)
Current Breakfast Program: BIC
Experience Working With Breakfast: 3 years
Proudest Breakfast Related Moment: I once saw PK-3 students sitting around a table talking, laughing, and eating. There were like little adults sitting around before they went into a meeting.
Favorite Breakfast: The sausage links. I'm known to root through the bags after the students have been fed to see if there are any left (since I probably rushed out of the door and forgot to eat breakfast myself)

Wendi Caudill Name: Wendi Caudill (bottom left)
Title: Area Food Services Supervisor
School District: Austin ISD
Current Breakfast Program: Traditional, BIC and Second Chance Breakfast
Experience Working With Breakfast: 3 Years
Proudest Breakfast Related Moment: Watching the High Schoolers eat on the run before class
Favorite Breakfast: Breakfast Taco


Jodi Duron Name: Jodi Duron
Title: Superintendent
School District: Elgin ISD
Current Breakfast Program: All students eat free. Breakfast served in the classroom.
Experience Working With Breakfast: 5 Years
Proudest Breakfast Related Moment: watching student interaction
Favorite Breakfast: Toast with cheese or peanut butter


Elizabeth Guajardo

Name: Elizabeth Guajardo
Title: Child Nutrition Director
School District: Elgin ISD
Current Breakfast Program: All Elementary schools get Breakfast in the Classroom at no charge and HS/MS go through the line at no charge also
Experience Working With Breakfast: 24 Years
Proudest Breakfast Related Moment: When students send notes to our cafeteria staff thanking them for their great food.
Favorite Breakfast: French Toast Stix



James Acuna Name: James Acuna
Title: Director of Food and Nutrition
School District: Lockhart ISD
Current Breakfast Program: BIC at K-8 and breakfast carts at HS
Experience Working With Breakfast: 3 Years
Proudest Breakfast Related Moment: the execution of breakfast carts at the hs
Favorite Breakfast: Smoothies


Yana KolevaName: Yana Koleva
Title: Assistant Food Service Director
School District: Round Rock ISD
Current Breakfast Program: Traditional through the line, BIC, First class BIC, Grab and go breakfast carts, after the bell
 Experience Working With Breakfast: 5 years
Proudest Breakfast Related Moment: implementing grab and go breakfast carts at 2 schools led to increase of 50 meals per school vs prior year
Favorite Breakfast: Loves it all! favorite meal of the day.

Baylor University Garland School of Social Work
811 Washington Ave.
Waco, Texas 76701
(254) 710-6900