School Lunch Hero Day 2024 Celebration Ideas

The school cafeteria and its staff are about more than just lunches—they’re about connection, community, and school culture. Cafeteria staff make sure each student gets fed, manage the federal lunch program (which is a task!), make sure students with allergies have appropriate food choices, help feed students during the summer, and may even take up gardening and teaching students about healthy food. As the saying goes, not all heroes wear capes (some wear aprons!). Take a day to celebrate school cafeteria staff on School Lunch Hero Day 2024.

What is School Lunch Hero Day?

It’s a day to celebrate everyone in the cafeteria, the staff who prep food and keep the lunch line moving. Many students may not realize how much school cafeteria workers do in a day, so this is a chance to give them a behind-the-scenes appreciation of this school department.

When is School Lunch Hero Day?

May 3, 2024, is School Lunch Hero Day. It was started in 2013 in collaboration between the School Nutrition Association and Jarrett J. Krosoczka, author of the Lunch Lady graphic novels.

School Nutrition Association

11 Ways To Celebrate School Lunch Hero Day 2024

1. Start lunch with appreciation

you ladies are the berry best school lunch hero banner for a school cafeteria
Hancock Public School

Students may not know the cafeteria team, so start each lunch period by recognizing the cafeteria staff and having students applaud. Also, we love this adorable banner to kick off School Lunch Hero Day!

2. Use the morning announcements

Another way to recognize the team on School Lunch Hero Day 2024 is via the morning announcements. Create a video of the cafeteria team or have the team present during the morning announcements.

3. Use social media

woman in apron standing with arms crossed. national school lunch hero week
Florida School Hero

Connect the cafeteria staff with your school community using social media. Share individual appreciations or a group post. You can even nominate your own school lunch hero, like this Florida campaign.

4. Provide guest servers

woman serving food in a cafeteria lunch line
Jackson Sun

Volunteers, parents, older students, and administration can all chip in and serve lunch for the day. Older students will gain appreciation for how much work goes into each lunch period, and the cafeteria staff can mingle with students on the other side of the counter.

5. Serve heroes to the lunch heroes

hero sandwiches wrapped in paper with a note that says heros!
Sweeten Your Day Events

Serve up lunch for the cafeteria staff. We suggest hero sandwiches (get it?).

6. Create a cafeteria story

lunch lady comic strip
Jarrett J. Krosoczka

Use a comic book template or complete this lunch lady comic book strip to create comics to share with your lunch heroes.

Get more lunch lady coloring sheets from the School Nutrition Association.

7. Decorate an apron

white apron that is decorated with drawings in marker for school lunch hero day 2024
Studio JJK via Pinterest

Get a white apron for each cafeteria staff member and have students decorate and sign it. This example is from the School Nutrition Association store.

Get it: Yellow Apron at the Jim Coleman Store

8. Decorate the halls

you got served bulletin board about cafeteria workers
Studio JJK via Pinterest

Have students design and display a bulletin board celebrating school lunch heroes. From fun themes like this You Just Got Served bulletin board to healthy-eating themes, the options are as long as the buffet line.

9. Throw a parade

decorated car in a parade for national school lunch hero day
Florida Today

Decorate cars, make banners, and celebrate your school lunch team like this school in Florida did. Each class can create a chant or presentation for the lunch team.

10. Decorate the cafeteria

poster that reads here's the scoop we appreciate you
Florida Today

Use poster board and large sticky notes to create posters to decorate the cafeteria with appreciation. Your school lunch heroes will get to work in a space that’s overflowing with appreciation.

11. Find the perfect gift

keychain that reads not all heroes wear capes some wear aprons

“No need for a cape when you wear an apron.” Love it! Give the key chain as a token of appreciation, and turn the slogan into a bulletin board.

Buy it: Key chain

lunch hero squad sticker

Lunch hero squad stickers to decorate computers, tumblers, mugs, and more. Stickers like this help the cafeteria staff feel like a team.

Buy it: Lunch Hero Squad Stickers

bag that reads lunch lady i'll be there for you

Fill a bag with mints, lip balm, and whatever else your lunch team needs to get through the day.

Buy it: Lunch Lady Bag

Plus, get more ideas for support staff gifts.

How are you celebrating School Lunch Hero Day? Share in the We Are Teachers HELPLINE group on Facebook.

Plus, check out what we learned when we asked teachers about cafeteria food.

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