Former SNA President and Longtime Child Nutrition Advocate Gene White Passes Away

2021-06-23

SNA-Gene-web-story2The School Nutrition Association is sad to announce the passing of former President Gene White. Instrumental in helping change the reputation of school meals and launching a public information campaign, White was president of the School Nutrition Association (then called American School Food Service Association) during a pivotal time for school meal programs.  

From the state of California and SNA president from 1977 to 1978, White’s goals were to expand the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) to non-participating schools and create a culture that welcomed more community involvement. Thanks to her efforts and relentless advocacy, White also helped introduce funding legislation.   

White passed away early this morning on Whidbey Island, Wash. She was 99 years old.  

A native of Ohio, Gene attended Miami University of Ohio and graduated with degrees in home economics and nutrition, called dietetics at the time. She pursued her graduate degree at the Ohio State University, and worked for more than 20 years as Food Service Director in China Lake, Calif. She became the state’s Director of Nutrition Services in the late 1970s, and she served as president of ASFSA, as SNA was called until 2004. Both on the federal and state levels, White’s involvement in child nutrition programs helped expand legislation.  

SNA-Gene-web-story3 But her important work was not limited to the United States. White had served as the President of the Global Child Nutrition Foundation (GCNF), an organization she helped launch with former SNA President Barbara Belmont. Her involvement continued throughout the years, and she was serving as GCNF’s vice president upon her death. Through White’s guidance, meal programs have been developed and implemented all over the world. As a representative of the Agency for International Development and later the United Nations World Food Program, Gene traveled around the world to create school meals programs.  

To honor her dedication, GCNF created the Gene White Lifetime Achievement Award in 2004, which recognizes “an outstanding individual within the child nutrition community who has worked to expand opportunities for the world’s children to receive adequate nutrition for learning and achieving their potential.” 

Gene will be greatly missed but her legacy and her impact on child nutrition programs will undoubtedly live on.  

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