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Mintz SNS Honored for Serving up Meals and Care for Kids

September 01, 2017 - Employee Excellence

The Student Nutrition Services (SNS) staff at Mintz Elementary School in Brandon serves up meals every school day to kids. It’s what gives students the fuel they need to learn.  But, the district recognizes these employees are going above-and-beyond by nourishing students’ well-being, excelling at customer service, and maintaining a clean kitchen and organized program.

For those reasons and more, the Mintz SNS workers are this year’s recipients of The Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Food Services Management from Hillsborough County Public Schools.

General Manager of Student Nutrition Services, Mary Kate Harrison surprised the staff with the award at the SNS Annual Team Conference.       

“We knew that they were winners,” said Harrison. You could see the staff working so well together, real teamwork. Not only feeding them food, but we’re also talking about feeding their soul with love and kind words.”

Alicia Briggs joined the SNS team at Mintz a year-and-a-half ago as the Student Nutrition Manager.

“It’s not just about the food.  It’s the relationship that we build with the children on a daily basis.  We see all of the kids in the entire school every day.  We can impact these kids by just smiling and providing good customer service to them,” said Briggs. “These ladies work hard every day.  I’m extremely proud of them.”

Principal Deborah Moltisanti said SNS needed Briggs’ leadership after Mintz’s long-time manager retired and the program’s been in transition.

“Alicia came in and she unified everyone. She gave everyone purpose. She’s just transformed the culture of our kitchen,” said Moltisanti.

Harrison said it’s a challenge to meet all of the goals. A district committee visits each school and evaluates the SNS program. 

To be eligible for the Golden Apple Award, a school must achieve 100 percent on the meal accountability review, which is required by law. It assesses accountability, meal counts, and production records. A school must also have perfect health inspections, increase student participation in the program, keep food-cost goals in line, and meet productivity standards.

To read Golden Apple Award Criteria:

“We also do a lot of site visits during the year that we look at culinary and management skills and customer services to see how well they did," said Harrison. “Our winners have excelled. They were kind and respectful to kids and interact with kids in the cafeteria. They’re all the things that make it more than just preparing a meal and serving.”

“I think it solidifies what I tell the staff all the time is they’re wonderful, and I appreciate each and every one of them,” said Briggs.

The school not only took home a Golden Apple trophy and plaque, the staff received gift cards: $50 for production assistants, $100 for the production coordinator and $200 for the manager.    

For the first time this year, Student Nutrition Services also recognized a school with the Silver Apple Award for nearly meeting all of its goals. Lewis Elementary in Temple Terrace received that honor.

SNS operates as a self-supporting, $143m enterprise. Each day, more than 1,700 employees serve over 232,000 nutritious meals to students in the district.

To see the programs SNS offers to schools and the community:

To see what’s happening at Mintz Elementary, follow the school on Twitter: and Facebook:

To learn more about Mintz Elementary School, visit:

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