2016 Healthy School Hero: Carrie Beegle
Food Service Director, Cloverleaf and Mapleton Local School Districts
Carrie Beegle is passionate about making the lives of the children she serves better. As food service director and wellness coordinator for two school districts, she writes policies that ensures her students have opportunities for generations to come.
But don’t think Carrie’s job is all about grant writing and policy making. She also raises bees and uses them as a hands-on learning opportunity for students. She then sells the honey to keep the apiary thriving and to help fund the districts’ athletics department.
Carrie is involved with many initiatives but says her favorite school health project is the Tot Chef program at Cloverleaf. Through grants the school offers classes that bring children and their parents/guardians together for a 4-week hands-on class. During this class, the teams are taught food safety and sanitation, basic knife skills, cooking skills and nutrition. Not only do participants learn more through interactive cooking classes, but Carrie has found that children are also more apt to try new things if they are involved in the preparation instead of foods just being placed in front of them. At the end of each session, they all sit down together and enjoy the meals that are packed with fresh fruits, vegetables and proteins.
Seeing children thrive is the biggest reward for Carrie. She recalls two students who attend the Tot Chef class who were both undernourished and wouldn’t try anything new. Now, they are so healthy and tall, Carrie barely recognizes them!
Carrie’s great work led her to speak at a Congressional hearing last year on healthy schools. She is also the “go to” food service director for Congressman Tim Ryan’s Salad Bars in Schools initiative.