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Hardin County Schools safety net meal program expands to weekends

The Hardin County Schools safety net program to help ensure area children will be fed has been enhanced once again.
Director of Schools Michael Davis said, “I am excited to announce that we have just been advised we can now provide meals for our children on the weekends as well as the weekdays. These meals are for anyone 18 years old or younger and you do not have to be a student in our school system.”
Announced Friday, the expanded program starts Monday. Meals are given away Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, at each of the 11 established sites, from 11 a.m. until noon.
Davis said meals can only be provided for children who are present in the car. He added, “We have to follow the rules and guidance from the state, but because this situation has been changing rapidly, the rules and guidance has been changing rapidly too.
“We are staying on top of the changes and adapting as they come. We’ve seen the loosening of some restrictions, such as now we can provide meals for weekends, and we will certainly take advantage of any other changes as fast as we can, because ultimately the goal is to make sure kids are fed.”
Drivers should enter the parking lot of the location and stop, and school personnel will bring meals for each child in the car. After receiving lunches, drivers are asked to go off-site to eat them, to both keep the area clear for others arriving and to minimize the risk of spread of the coronavirus.
Also, if picking up lunches at a community fire hall, don’t stop in front of fire hall bay doors.
On Mondays and Wednesdays, each child present will be provided two days of meals, and on Fridays each child present will receive three days of meals.
Typical meals are a sandwich, fruit or vegetable and milk for lunch. The breakfast meal options include cereal, cereal bar, mini honey bun, Pop Tart, and similar items. The breakfast meal also include a 4-ounce fruit juice, a half-cup of fruit and a carton of milk.
School Nutrition Program Supervisor Cheryl Cochran said the meals meet federal requirements, and asked parents to be aware that on some days at some locations, peanut butter sandwiches are offered. A different option will be available upon request for those with peanut butter allergies.
In a new development Saturday, Davis added, “Also — I can’t promise it — but the hope and expectation is that next week we’ll be able to provide a couple of hot meals. Cheryl (Cochran) is working on that very hard, now that we’re getting used to the logistics and seeing the participation from parents – we’ve put out a lot of meals. So she’s working on maybe something like a hot chicken sandwich, a hot baked potato. I’ll have better details as we get into the week, but she’s working hard to be able to provide it.”
Over the first two days of the program last week, Hardin County Schools reports providing 3,167 complete meals to children.
In a financial update, Davis said he has been advised that the school system will be reimbursed the approximately $25,000 anticipated cost of providing meals during the scheduled spring break. Spring break meal expenses were not initially included in the state and federal response to the coronavirus situation.
“Now we’ll be providing those meals and not having it come out of our budget, which helps tremendously – and right now I’m happy to take all the help for our students and schools that I can get,” Davis said.
The list of the 11 food distribution sites can be found at Parents can also call the HCS main office, weekdays between 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. at 731-925-3943 for more information.
In a separate, personal note to Hardin County parents, students, teachers and staff, Davis wrote Friday:
“I know for everyone, it has been a very challenging and difficult week in many ways. Now that we have learned that our county has been notified that we do have a confirmed case of the COVID-19 virus, we must not panic but be sure to continue to follow all the recommended suggestions provided by our health professionals. If you were to have specific questions, anyone may call the Tennessee Department of Health information line at 877-857-2945.
“As many of you know, next week is our school system’s designated spring break week. It is my hope that all of our students and parents will find time to enjoy family time together but continue to be mindful of the necessary precautions to take if traveling or around others.
“Even though this time for us is different than ever before, I hope you will make the most of it with your family and do things that bring all of you much joy and happiness,” Davis said.

1 Comment

  1. Rickie Withers on March 22, 2020 at 12:40 pm

    Kinda wondered why meals were not delivered via School buses? Provide bus drivers with a steady income plus they know where the kids are picked up. But its not the Hardin County way.

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