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March 18, 2011 > Dominic Machi honored

Dominic Machi honored

Submitted by Eileen McDonald
Photo by Jan Passama

Dominic Machi, Director of Child Nutrition for the Newark Unified School District, was honored at the March 8 meeting of the Alameda County Board of Education (ACOE) with a Public Education Service Award for his dedication and advocacy for healthy and nutritious food served to our school children.

Machi does more than operate an exemplary school food program. He is extremely active in the community, donating many hours of his own his time. He assists with the annual League of Volunteers dinner, An Elegant Affaire and also cooked over 200 turkeys for their Thanksgiving dinner feeding over 1,500 Tri-city residents.

Serving as a panelist at the Fixing School Lunches Conference last April, Machi offered child nutrition leaders throughout Northern California creative ideas involving the integration of cultural foods into school lunches. His Mexicali Lasagna is an example of how he encourages Hispanic children to eat school lunches.

County School Board President Eileen McDonald read excerpts of a letter she received from Kenneth Hecht, Executive Director for the California food Policy Advocates. Mr. Hecht sent congratulations to Mr. Machi and gave the following example of his out-of-the-box approaches to reach children.

"In July a new California statute will require schools to provide free drinking water to students when they are eating school meals. While many districts are concerned that this new requirement is too costly and complicated to implement, Dominic simply went out, found some dispensers and cups, and began offering water even before required to do so. The kids love it--particularly as Dominic is flavoring the water with lemons that he receives free of charge from USDA," Hecht wrote.

This is just one example of how Dominic goes the extra mile. The list is endless. At the meeting, Dr. Chris Boynton, Director of Project Eat for the Alameda County Office of Education, praised Machi for his work in Newark. She shared a sample menu from the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 and congratulated the strides Newark schools are making in that area.

Before an audience of nearly 100 people, Machi proudly and humbly accepted the prestigious award. After introducing his staff and family present he thanked the Newark Board of Education for their continued support of the food program. "We know many students come to school hungry and the nutritious meals we serve help students learn every day. I am thrilled to be recognized for being a partner in the educational life of a child and I share this award with my entire staff. It takes a village."

After President Eileen McDonald presented the award, Vice-President Ken Berrick commented, "This was a good award," as the crowd broke out in applause.

The Newark Unified School District and the citizens of the entire Tri-Cities can be proud of Dominic Machi--an everyday hero.

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