From Classroom to Community: Child Nutrition Educator Inspires Healthy Choices in Local Schools

May 6, 2024

Melanie Foland, Child Nutrition Educator at Hunger Task Force, has dedicated her career to making a positive impact on young lives. Inspired by her own influential teachers, Melanie embarked on a career in education. “My teachers made such a difference in my life. I was inspired to do the same,” says Melanie.

Her path led her to studying education at Marquette University. After student teaching in the West Allis West Milwaukee School District, she landed a full-time position at Pershing Elementary in a blended 4th/5th grade classroom. “I’ve always enjoyed working with young kids,” she shares. “I love seeing that curiosity and fueling their desire to explore.”

While deeply cherishing her classroom experience, Melanie aspired to broaden her reach and make an even greater impact on the Milwaukee community beyond the walls of her school. This led to her current role at Hunger Task Force. “I wanted to feel more connected to students across the city,” she added.

Through the Garden-to-Plate program, Melanie travels to local schools, teaching valuable nutrition lessons, hosting cooking demonstrations in Hunger Task Force’s McCarty Education Kitchen and taking students on field trips to The Farm in Franklin, WI. This initiative specifically targets low-income youth – equipping them with the knowledge and skills to make healthy choices on a budget – and allows them to connect with the source of their food.

As Child Nutrition Educator, Melanie draws heavily on her teaching experience and educational background. Her expertise in lesson planning, understanding student needs both within and beyond the classroom and her deep knowledge of teachers’ requirements for implementing the Hunger Task Force curriculum are invaluable assets. She particularly enjoys developing lesson plans that can be broadly adapted across different age groups and finds classroom management and fostering student engagement to be highly fulfilling aspects of her work.

Melanie proves that a passion for education can extend far beyond the classroom walls. On this National Teachers’ Day, we want to recognize her, and all educators, who work hard to support, love and care for Milwaukee’s children.

Hunger Task Force is Milwaukee’s Free & Local food bank and Wisconsin’s anti-hunger leader. The organization’s core values are Dignity, Justice, Equity, Compassion and Stewardship. Hunger Task Force feeds people today by providing healthy and culturally appropriate food to hungry children, families and seniors in the community absolutely free of charge. Hunger Task Force also works to end future hunger by advocating for strong public policies and nutrition programs at the local, state and federal level.