Biology Professor Wins National Honor

photo of biology instructor Betty Crocker
By Mike Taylor

September 14, 2018 - 10:08 AM

Yes, there really is a Betty Crocker, and she teaches biology part time at Mt. SAC.

This Betty Crocker­––as opposed to 1920’s fictional marketing character for the company that would later become General Mills––was one of five recent national winners of the 2018 No Kid Hungry Summer Meals Hero Contest for her work providing meals to children in Redlands.

“When I saw that Redlands didn’t have a summer meals program, it was a no-brainer to me,” said Crocker, who is also the director of child nutrition services for the Redlands Unified School District.

She began the program in summer 2017 with a $30,000 grant from the League of Cities while partnering with the city of Redlands. The program served 11,000 meals through the Redlands Community Center and the Community Park.

In summer 2018, she stepped up the program with $22,800 from Amazon and partnering with the local police department. This time, the program served 55,000 meals and expanded its outreach to include Redlands East Valley High, the YMCA, and the Smiley Public Library.

“When you are working to reduce food insecurities, it really does take a village,” she said.

Crocker is the only recipient of the award west of the Mississippi River.

“This recognition shines a huge light on programs that address hunger.”

At Mt. SAC, Crocker teaches Biol 5, Contemporary Health Issues, and the lessons she learns working the summer programs, she shares with her students.

“I love bringing these stories from the real world into the classroom. And the students really enjoy them too,” she said.

Some of her Mt. SAC students have even volunteered to help with the program.

The future for the summer program sees potential expansion into the communities of Mentone, Loma Linda, Highland, and San Bernardino with the goal of reaching even more children so that eventually no kid will go hungry.

“It doesn’t happen over night,” she said. “It’s a journey.”