Although Desiree Anderberg worked in foodservice prior to coming to the Yankton School District, she had never heard of the School Nutrition Association. “I worked for a contracted food company, and they didn’t promote SNA, so I just really didn’t know anything about it,” explained Anderberg by telephone. “I came to work for Sandi and she was big into SNA; she encouraged me to join, and I did.”
Sandi is Desiree’s boss, director of Yankton Child Nutrition Services, Sandi Kramer. You may remember Sandi from the 2014 Celebration of School Nutrition Heroes—she was one of our winners, honored at the very first award dinner.
This is the second year Desiree applied for and won a scholarship. “I’m currently pursuing an associate’s [degree] in business administration, and I’ll graduate next year,” said Anderberg. Not only has the scholarship money helped Anderberg offset the cost of attending college, it’s also given her a boost of confidence that she says was just as important.
“The scholarship helped me believe that someone my age—at fifty years old!—that I could get a scholarship,” explained Desiree. “It feels great to know that people believe in you.” After filling out the five-in-one scholarship form, Desiree was awarded both a Schwan’s and an Annual Fund scholarship. Anderberg says SNA support has been crucial to her professional development.
“SNA is so wonderful! They sent me to Midwest leadership conference in Chicago, and that was a great experience. I’ve been to the state conference every year since I’ve been at Yankton, and it’s just been a wonderful experience being a member of SNA.”
At Yankton, much of the focus is on reaching underserved populations, so in addition to lunch they operate a backpack program to send food home with kids for the weekend. Desiree’s boss also operates an “angel fund” where people can donate money directly for students without money in their account.
“We are very concerned with helping the needy,” explained Anderberg. “We want [to reach] the underserved population. We have three elementary [schools] that qualify for the federal fruit and veggie bar, and our [backpack program] is really big—it’s a really big deal.”
The best advice Desiree has to offer busy school nutrition professionals like herself is to never give up, and don’t let anything get in the way of pursuing your educational goals.
“If you’re thinking of going to college—online or on campus—apply for SNA scholarships, especially if you’re going to continue in school foodservice!” urged Desiree, who plans to apply for a scholarship to attend the Annual National Conference.
Pointing out that the new professional standards will mean more school nutrition professionals pursing a college degree, Anderberg said there is no time like the present to consider going back to school—and SNA is there to help.
“Having someone that believes in you enough to put their faith in you, and give you money to help, it’s just really awesome!”