Fresh Bites Winter 2021 Edition

President’s Message

President Elect’s Message



I have spent a great deal of time lately thinking about normalcy. It wasn’t so long ago my mindset was “I just want normal back”. Sometime between September and today, that mindset has changed. What I used to perceive as temporary and inconvenient has now shifted to a mindset of “How can I take advantage of this unprecedented event to re-invent my programs, myself, my staff? " “ What I used to perceive as temporary and inconvenient has now shifted to a mindset of “How can I take advantage of this unprecedented event to re-invent my programs, myself, my staff?

I am honored to be writing this to you as the 67th President of the New York School Nutrition Association. When I look back at the names of those who came before me I am humbled and I realize that the bar has been set incredibly high. I am looking forward to serving you this year. I want to emphasize that if you have any ideas, questions or concerns, please reach out to me. I will be more than happy to listen. It has been such an exciting year for all of us. There have been so many unknown factors playing a part in our everyday lives at home, at work and in the Association. Even though there are numerous challenges there are also numerous opportunities. We held our first virtual House of Delegates meeting in October. It was fantastic. Lowell Aplebaum did a tremendous job of sharing information on excellence in volunteering. We also held our first virtual event, From The Show Floor . It was such a great time. John Colby did

SUSAN BELL President

President Elect


a remarkable job of bringing The New York and New Jersey School Nutrition Associations together while showing us the importance of how we communicate with others. I can’t wait to see Eric Papp and hear what he has to say about “Taking Bold Action In Uncertain Times” on December 2nd. The From The Show Floor site is open and it is full of information. We hope you take full advantage of it. Our Executive Director, Jennifer Martin and the Headquarters Staff, Ashleigh and Alyssa, have done an incredible job of bringing us a virtual food show and incentive game like no other. I love that NYSNA is the leader in the country for putting together this incredible event. As if all of this wasn’t enough, we are also offering Committee Days for the first time. This event was full of information for everyone. It covered the Association’s structure and governance model, the benefits and services you get from the Association, as well as a committee orientation. Chapter leaders even had the opportunity to gather information to take back to their groups to help them achieve their goals. On November 13th, NYSNA hosted a food drive to benefit Karyl’s Kupboard Emergency Food and Hygiene Pantry, to assist the members of Saratoga County. It was a huge success. As you can see great things have been happening with NYSNA and we’ve got even more on the way. I was asked to make a list of 10 things that most people don’t know about me:

The past year has taught me that these are the times that create great change. This is an opportunity to re-invent ourselves. While Superintendent’s and school officials scramble to figure this out, it dawned on me that we have an opportunity here to re-invent school meals. Let’s face it….child nutrition programs across the country have already proven we can make it happen under the most stressful of circumstances and often at the last minute. Why not use this time to assess how we can permanently pivot our roles to adapt to this ever-changing environment and not just survive, but thrive? I’ll admit, it is challenging and exhausting, but the benefit of feeding hungry kids, in whatever form that takes, gives me a sense of pride unlike any other endeavor I may happen to undertake. Nothing makes me more proud than knowing I am a part of making sure hungry kids can count on at least two meals a day from me and my staff; regardless of how/where they attend school, I will be a part of their day. Speaking of inventive and forward thinking…. how fortunate are we, NYSNA, to have an executive director who thinks of ways to move our association forward at a time when so many other associations are struggling to manage. Thanks to the insight and forethought of our Executive Director, Jennifer Martin, and her fabulous staff, we have “From the Show Floor.” If you have not taken the opportunity to check out this new feature, you do not know what you are missing. What an awesome way for our membership to stay engaged with our industry partners and continue to see what exciting products they have to offer us as we maneuver our way through changing circumstances. From the Show Floor is a truly inventive platform for keeping our membership engaged and informed. I hope you will consider tuning in. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the out-going 2019/2020 board members for their years of service and dedication to this association. I truly enjoyed working along side and with many of you and I learned something unique from each of you. I also would like to welcome the new board members. I look forward to working with you and seeing what amazing ideas we can see accomplished together. Additionally, I long for the days when we can all be collaborating and celebrating together again. Until that time, stay healthy my friends. DONNA RIVIELLO NYSNA President Elect Donna Riviello has been a school Food Service Director for the past 11 years currently employed through Wayne Finger Lakes BOCES and working with the Clyde Savannah and North Rose Wolcott Central School Districts. She has been a NYSNAmember for eleven years and she looks forward to serving this organization for the next two years as the current President Elect and future President. - Donna -

I was born and raised in Kenmore, NY. We decided to move to Wilson 22 Years ago and I unexpectedly fell in love with it.

I married my High School Sweetheart 36 1/2 years ago.

I love seafood and found out when I went to the NERL Conference in Portland, Maine with Kim Roll that they have the best lobster I have ever tasted.

I enjoy spending time on the back of my husband’s Harley.

I have been in Child Nutrition since moving to Wilson in 1998, I have been a Food Service Director since 2012.

I have a tremendous fear of heights (and water), yet somehow Anne Marie Norton and Anne Rich got me to go down the 10 story slide at the City Museum in St. Louis and I loved it!!

I have 4 children – Christopher age 35, Jessica age 32, Melissa age 29 and Coco age 27. I also have 2 granddaughters, Riley age 15 and Peyton age 11.

My favorite food is shrimp, but I try to eat French fries and pizza every day!!

I used to breed Labrador Retrievers. Now I have a cat.

My favorite place to be is in my own backyard.

There you have it. It was actually more difficult than I thought it would be to think of things. I can’t wait to see what 2021 holds for all of us. Whatever it is I am sure we will make it great! Wishing you all Happy Holidays!

- Susan -

SUSAN BELL NYSNA President Susan Bell is the Food Service Director for Wilson Central School District, located in Wilson, NY! She has been in Child Nutrition for 22 years and loves school meals. Sue’s goal is to make the Association inclusive to everyone! NY is full of amazing Child Nutrition personnel and they can always turn to NYSNA for all of their School Nutrition needs.







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