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Lunch Hero Spotlight: Scholarship Prep's Allie Masse

In the busy hallways of Scholarship Prep lies the meal program—a part of school life that often goes unnoticed but is integral to the health and well-being of its students. At the helm of managing the daily operation is Compliance Coordinator, Allie Masse. With eight years under her belt at Scholarship Prep, Allie has grown from Office Manager to a pivotal figure in the meal program, navigating the complexities of compliance, meal waste management, and vendor collaboration.

In this blog post, we salute Allie, whose passion and dedication illuminate the importance of the 'behind the scenes' work in schools, reminding us of the critical role that meal programs and their champions play in fostering a nurturing school environment!


What role do you play in your school’s meal program and how long have you worked there?

I am Scholarship Prep’s Compliance Coordinator and have been with our organization for 8 years. Working alongside our Chief Operating Officer, Sarah Schoenfeld-Nakamoto, I support our various school sites with compliance matters of the meal program. This ranges from tracking meal waste, supporting with documentation for reimbursements, overseeing completion of mandatory training, and working collaboratively with meal vendors.

What inspired you to work in school food?

As a Compliance Coordinator my role in the meal program is part of the work I do. Over the years, I have grown to love the backend operations of the meal program. I’ve enjoyed working with our sites and vendors, and learning about what it takes to effectively run a meal program. However, what truly motivates me is how we support the students at our sites – being able to provide free, nutritious meals on a daily basis knowing that some students may not be able to have that in their home. Knowing that they are aware that they can always receive a meal when they are on campus is what truly drives our meal program.

Can you share a bit about your background and how it led you to this career?

After years of working as an Office Manager at Scholarship Prep, I was promoted to the Home Office position I currently hold. I am grateful to have site-level experience where I saw the day-to-day operations. This knowledge has allowed me to understand how I can truly support our sites now as a Compliance Coordinator, where the work is more behind the scenes.  

How do you ensure that the meals are both nutritious and appealing to students?

I work closely with our Meal Program Supervisors, who are the eyes and ears of the meal program on-site. We collaborate on what worked and what didn’t for the month as we track meal waste together. Surveying students and seeing the data helps us adjust the menus as needed. Another factor is understanding the community we serve – being culturally responsive and selecting meals students are familiar with and can enjoy.

What is the most popular lunch meal at school and why?

Our two most popular meals are pizza kits for one of our vendors and chicken tamal for our other vendor. The pizza kit is most popular due to its similarity of a Lunchable. The students love to “build” their own pizza with the options that are provided to them. The chicken tamal is another favorite due to how the students respond culturally to them. Our students immediately recognize this meal and some consider it a staple in their own home. One of our goals is to always be culturally responsive and sensitive when selecting meals, but at the same time try to introduce new meals that students might not have come across.

How do you balance the wants and needs of your school community with running a sustainable meal program?

Scholarship Prep overall does an amazing job of making it a point to understand the community we serve and to lead with love, which has become one of our missions. Working closely with Sarah Schoenfeld-Nakamoto, Scholarship Prep’s COO, we monitor the site’s wants/needs within the meal program while also not losing sight of our mission. We adjust any plans set forth that a site may have to accommodate their wants/needs, but also move forward logically in our decisions. In the end, we want to do what is best for our sites and at the same time make sure that our meal program runs effectively.


How do you build relationships with students and staff through your role?

I conduct several compliance walkthroughs throughout the school year. These visits not only let me personally see how things are going, but I get to receive real-time feedback from students and staff as well. I am able to support the staff on any adjustments needed regarding their vendor and/or general site support.


What do you find most rewarding about your job?

I find rewarding that I am able to help contribute to the families we serve, whether that was on-site or behind the scenes. It is a reminder of my purpose with my role.

Is there a particular aspect of your work that you are most proud of?

I am most proud of the collaborative work Sarah and I have done over the course of 4 years. Seeing our organization’s meal program grow and evolve throughout the years has been very rewarding. We have had to pivot and adjust as we faced challenges during the COVID-19 years, but we never lost sight of why we continue to do the work.

Do you have any personal goals or aspirations in your career moving forward?

I have always acknowledged the opportunities that Scholarship Prep can provide for their employees as the organization continues to expand. With that being said, I do believe that I can continue to grow within the organization as more roles and opportunities open up.



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