Baldwin County Schools - BOE 2020 Fall Issue - Page 30

Summer Meal Program

The Baldwin County School

Nutrition Department ’ s
Seamless Summer Meals program fed more are children this summer than ever before .
“ We served a total of 186,944 meals this summer . Normally we serve around 47,000 , but this year , Baldwin County should up and showed out ,” said Susan Nelson , the school district ’ s School Nutrition Director .
The mobile school meal delivery program feeds any child in the community , not just Baldwin County students . When schools closed due to the coronavirus pandemic , the summer meal program began earlier than usual then picked back up at its regular start time in June .
Once the 2020-2021 school year began , with a large number of Baldwin ’ s students taking advantage of the remote learning option , the school nutrition department created a drive-thru meal service to help parents get breakfast and lunch to our remote learners .
The drive-thru service was soon replaced with some surprisingly good news : the Seamless Summer meal program was given the green light to be operated once more .
Effective Wednesday , September 16 , Baldwin County School Nutrition Department ’ s summer meal program returned to Baldwin County communities to provide nutritious meals to area children .
On Monday , August 31 , the U . S . Department of Agriculture ( USDA ) announced that it would allow schools to continue serving free meals to all kids through the end of 2020 so long as funding allows . USDA Director , Sonny Perdue , decided to allow schools to restart the free meal program in an effort to help children and families in each respective community to continue to receive access to meals during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic .
“ We are extending the summer meal program flexibilities for as long as we can , legally and financially ,” Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said in a statement . “ This will ensure meals are reaching all children — whether they are learning in the classroom or virtually .”
The Seamless Summer Meal Program that the Baldwin County School Nutrition Department operates is a meal delivery service that typically is offered only during the summer months , but with this
extension , the school district is now able to provide meals to children in the Baldwin County community throughout the rest of the year .
“ We will be delivering breakfast and lunch meals for 5 days to select locations in the community . Because of this , we will no longer offer the meal pick up service at each school . Since school started in August , we have served free meals in all of our schools and offered an ordering system for the virtual students learning from home . The virtual meals were picked up at each school during lunch time , as well as an option for an evening pick up . The meal kits had breakfast and lunch for 5 days . With the announcement of the summer meal program , we are now able to run bus routes in our community , which allows many more students to be able to receive 5 day meal kits .”
The extension will also help parents and guardians who have found it challenging to get to the schools for the drive thru meal service .
“ If a student or parent does not have transportation , picking up meals at the schools was often difficult or not possible . Bus routes make delivering to the regular summer routes much more accessible . Many families have lost jobs or seen a reduction in work and need the helping hand our schools can provide ,” Nelson added .
Unlike the typical BCSD Seamless Summer Meal Program , adults will be permitted to pick up meals without the child being present .
The extension of the summer meal program is great news , not only for the school district but for the community as a whole .
“ I am extremely pleased that the USDA decided to reverse its decision and instead extend the summer meal program until the end of the year . It gives us more of an opportunity to reach more kids in our community and help us meet the needs of struggling families in the Baldwin County area ,” said Dr . Noris Price , Superintendent of Schools .
The program is ongoing and will last till December 31 , as funds will allow . The mobile meal deliveries take place on Wednesdays . For a copy of the mobile route locations and times , please visit our website at https :// www . baldwincountyschoolsga . org / school-nutrition .
30 • Fall 2020 • BALDWIN COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT www . baldwincountyschoolsga . org