2024 Summer Hunger Heroes Show Outstanding Commitment to Summer Hunger Relief

No Kid Hungry recognizes exceptional efforts to address child hunger through work with rural non-congregate summer meals and Summer EBT

It’s been said before: not all heroes wear capes. When it comes to being a hunger hero, the job requires going above and beyond to ensure that kids get the food they need to be healthy and thrive. This summer, No Kid Hungry is recognizing 10 of these Summer Hunger Heroes from across the country who have shown outstanding commitment to summer hunger relief through their work to expand summer meals in rural communities and get the new Summer EBT (also known as Sun Bucks) program underway.

Thanks to expanded guidelines from the USDA, more rural kids will have access to non-congregate summer meals this year. That means that families can pick up meals to eat at home or even have them delivered, instead of having to eat the meals onsite at a particular time. This option will make a world of difference for rural families who often face particular difficulties in terms of transportation, extreme weather, and work schedules when it comes to accessing summer meal programs.

In addition, the introduction of the Summer EBT program is a game changer for over 21 million kids across the United States this summer. This program provides eligible kids with $120 in summer grocery benefits, helping to replace the essential nutrition kids receive from school meals that disappear over the summer break. These two programs, working in tandem, will have a profound impact on child hunger in our country.

So, who are the 2024 Summer Hunger Heroes who are making such a difference to kids in their communities?

Jody Buckle is the director of Food and Nutrition for the Humboldt Unified School District in Prescott Valley, Arizona. Buckle is an incredible advocate for children. He is very attentive to the community's needs and adapts his services to ensure student's needs are met in a way that supports families. The results speak for themselves with nearly 95,000 non-congregate meals served last summer and plans to expand this year! 


Amanda West is the child nutrition director for Monticello School District in Monticello, Arkansas. She is president of the Arkansas School Nutrition Association and has been a critical support to Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance’s Summer EBT outreach to school districts. She is a person of action who always says “yes” when asked to support efforts across the state to enhance child nutrition programs and policy. Most importantly, West lives by her personal code of supporting those in her community who are most in need, and works daily to support kids struggling with hunger, because, as she always says, “one hungry child is one too many!”


Melissa “Mel” Hill, the programs manager at Second Harvest of the Big Bend in Tallahassee, Florida, is a former elementary school teacher who understands the challenge food insecurity can pose for children during the summer. Hill's passion for serving children is leading her team to operate the most expansive Summer BreakSpot Program ever. Her positive attitude is contagious and her organizational skills and ability to engage new community partners have put Second Harvest of the Big Bend on track to serve over 65,000 meals this summer which is over a 400% increase from the previous summer.


In Kentucky, we’re honoring Cathy Gallagher, the program manager for the Kentucky Summer Food Service Program at the Kentucky Department of Education. Gallagher is an unwavering supporter of Kentucky kids and their families. She's also the ultimate cheerleader and supporter for the people behind the scenes that make summer meals happen for kids. Gallagher and her team have created a culture of "yes" for Kentucky summer sponsors and the positive ripple effects are felt across the Commonwealth. This is probably one of the many reasons why when new non-congregate provisions were rolled out, almost 80 sponsors jumped on the opportunity with only a few months' notice.


Donna Riviello is the director of Food Services for the Clyde-Savannah Central School District in New York. “Donna is fantastic,” shared Rachel Sabella, director of No Kid Hungry New York. “Our state education department loves her and her program.” Last year, Donna used No Kid Hungry grant funding for a successful home delivery summer meals program for her community, tripling the number of meals provided compared to the previous year! She has spent this year gearing up for another amazing season, while also serving as an advocate for non-congregate meals, helping other programs prepare for success.

Justine Roberts is the chief executive officer and director of the Performing Arts and Science Academy in Marion, South Carolina. Roberts attended the No Kid Hungry Summer Summit earlier this year, and carried the enthusiasm that generated forward as she made plans for this year. Her programs for student academics and enrichment always include a focus on nutrition, and her Summer Break Café helps ensure that the community’s kids stay nourished and healthy all summer long. “Justine is a hard worker and has a passion for children,” said Michele Brown of the Academy. “If there is anything she can do to help a child, she will go the extra mile. Each year she says she will cut back and yet, each year she pushes our team to reach and feed more children.”

In Tennessee, No Kid Hungry is recognizing Constance Moore, the senior food compliance officer of the YMCA of Memphis and the Mid South. Moore is coordinating non-congregate summer meal programs in 8 rural counties this year, in locations as diverse as a shopping mall and a corrections facility. She takes the needs of her community to heart when designing her programs, implementing options like Saturday meal distributions. Marissa Spady, No Kid Hungry Tennessee senior manager, shared, “Constance is just a firecracker. She’s not afraid to push back. Constance is a great advocate for the program and for the kids and for thinking outside the box.”

Randy Herman is the school nutrition director for Louisa County Public Schools in Virginia. Randy's been a longtime partner of No Kid Hungry Virginia. “She is an absolutely wonderful human being,” said Sarah Steely, director of No Kid Hungry Virginia. “She is the single best spokesperson I know for the importance of non-congregate.” As a result of Randy's leadership, Louisa County has nearly quadrupled the size of their summer meals operation over the last few years, growing from 8,000 meals served in summer 2019 to 30,000 meals served last summer.

Eric Savaiano, the economic justice program manager for Food and Nutrition Access of Nebraska Appleseed, was an integral part of the reason Nebraska is offering Summer EBT at all this year, after the state’s governor initially opted out of the program. Eric and his team worked tirelessly to put together a petition with over 6,500 signatures, secure media coverage and worked relentlessly with partners to leverage support for the program. “I truly believe without Eric and our partners at Nebraska Appleseed’s advocacy, Summer EBT would not be a reality in Nebraska this summer,” said Brianna Guerrero, No Kid Hungry Nebraska program manager.

Anne Fiala and Whitney Peters of the United States Department of Agriculture are the final honorees for this year’s No Kid Hungry Summer Hunger Heroes. Food and Nutrition Services have been working tirelessly to ensure states can implement Summer EBT in 2024. Anne and Whitney in particular led the Summer EBT team in drafting the Interim Final Rule that is guiding states on implementing Summer EBT and providing important state-by-state support to help ensure the program runs smoothly and as many eligible kids as possible are reached.

No Kid Hungry salutes these and all the hunger heroes who work tirelessly to ensure that kids everywhere get the food they need to be healthy and thrive—throughout the summer and beyond. 

Ways You Can Help:

Donate:  1 dollar can help provide 10 meals* for kids. Your support will help us fund meal programs all over the country and help us advocate for policies that will help kids get the meals they need.

*Donations help support programs that feed kids; No Kid Hungry does not provide individual meals. Learn more at  NoKidHungry.org/OneDollar