Schools serve up millions of meals during COVID-19 pandemic

Published: Mar. 16, 2021 at 7:30 PM EDT
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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - It’s been exactly a year since the coronavirus pandemic sent kids home to learn remotely. Over that period, school nutrition staff around the state and here locally have had to get creative to feed their students.

This week the Pitt County School System served up its two millionth meal, which Nutrition Services Director Gretchen Wilson says has been no easy task.

“We’re just so proud that we were able to be flexible and switch up our meal service style,” said Wilson.

As of Monday in Craven County, the school system has served 2.3 million meals over the past 12 months, showing Nutrition Director Lauren Weyand just how big the need is for children.

“To date, as of yesterday, we’ve served 2.3 million meals. That’s excellent news for a district our size, and that’s an average of about 11-12 thousand meals a day,” explained Weyand.

Both women say to serve that many meals, they’ve had to go to great lengths. “We started off using all of the buses, I think we had 96 buses on the road feeding kids at their bus stops, and here we are today, and kids are back in classrooms at least some of the time, and we’re also sending take-home meals to students who are on Plan B,” said Weyand.

“When students came back, we went to curbside and feeding on campus through either kiosks down the hallways or doing classroom deliveries or serving out of the service line,” Wilson said.

Over the last year, the USDA has also allowed schools to feed any child 18 years old and younger breakfast and lunch at no cost. The agency has now extended that program to last through the end of September.

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