At the end of this school year, Sunnyside School District Director of Food Services Bob Toomer will be turning in his apron and leaving for the warm climates of Prescott, Ariz.
Toomer said he has a son in Las Vegas and a daughter in Flagstaff, Ariz. He will be moving closer to both of them, continuing his work with the Prescott Unified School system.
In the past four years, Toomer has brought many changes to the Sunnyside School District food services programs. He was instrumental in implementing the district's fruit and vegetable program.
"Kids have all the fruit and vegetables they want," he said of the program.
Toomer also afforded students at Sunnyside High School more food options, allowing students to remain on campus during the lunch hour.
He said the changes brought about at the high school have also increased the number of students participating in the school's breakfast program.
"When I first started, the school was serving approximately 200 kids. The program now averages more than 600 kids served per day," said Toomer.
He said he feels students need to eat in order to obtain educational success. "Hungry kids can't learn...that is a motto I have always believed in," stated Toomer.
He added that expanding food opportunities for students within the school district supports academic success in reducing tardiness and the number of students leaving campus at the high school.
Toomer has added barbecues to the list of choices for students. He said each school has two barbecues in the fall and two in the spring, providing a fun and healthy alternative to the menu.
In addition to the food services programs the school district offers students during the school year, Toomer implemented summer programs, which provide healthy meals for children within the community of Sunnyside.
He said there has been a significant increase in summer program attendance, including barbecues held in Sunnyside parks and throughout the school district.
"We provide evening barbecues for our dinner program in addition to our lunch program," said Toomer.
He said he looks forward to making similar changes, implementing programs like those in Sunnyside, for the students within the Prescott schools.
"I strongly believe a good food program is beneficial to the education of children," said Toomer.
Jennie McGhan/Daily Sun News
Sunnyside School District Director of Food Services Bob Toomer will be moving to Arizona at the end of the school year. He will be taking on a similar role within the Prescott Unified School system.