No Kid Hungry: Tips for Meal Service during COVID-19

No Kid Hungry hosted a free webinar today to provide organizations offering meal services for children with wisdom from the proverbial “trenches.” Three providers shared their experience providing non-congregate meal services during the novel coronavirus pandemic:

Beth Morris – Lynchburg City Schools (VA)

Format: Meal Pick-Up and Delivery Options

  • 4 Sites were selected for their capacity to serve large numbers and accessibility to families.
  • Meal service is provided Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
  • Meal pick up provides 2 breakfasts and 2 lunches (6 days of breakfast and lunch per week total). All breakfasts are cold items and shelf-stable, and one of the lunches is a hot ready-to-eat lunch, which allowed the school district to utilize hot meal items they current had.
  • Partnered with LCS Transportation – 29 buses deliver meals on elementary school bus routes. Bus routes and delivery times are posted on the district website.
  • Developed a partnership with Parks and Recreation: 3 vans deliver to housing communities with high population of students, and 6 neighborhood community centers provide curb-side pick up locations
  • Documentation: parents sign-out food items and write down the names of children for whom they are picking up meals.
  • Safety: Social distancing is practiced during prep (moved into the school dining hall for more room between employees). All staff wear gloves and masks, wash hands at least once every 45 minutes

Beth Krause – Ithaca City School District

Format: Meal Delivery

  • Each week, parents complete a Google Form on the school website requesting meals (they can also call 211 and someone will assist them in completing the form).
  • Information is sent out to parents via email or text message with instructions for food safety/preparation.
  • Information about meal delivery was posted to the district website and was publicized on the local news.
  • Meals are prepared the day before from shelf-stable items.
  • Coolers are lined up, sanitized, and filled with items before 6am.
  • Coolers and milk is packed on buses. A runner is put on the bus to drop off the meals on the door step at each location.
  • Census information forms are provided with meals.
  • This school district has also used this program to deliver books, diapers and formula, etc.
  • Safety: All work surfaces are sanitized hourly. No one except kitchen staff are allowed in the building.

Heidi Davis – Second Harvest Food Bank (Northeast TN)

Format: Community Choice Model (Rural Community)

  • All meals are shelf stable or thaw-and-serve.
  • Families may opt to pick up or receive delivery – families expressed need by calling into a community center.
  • Utilized an app for documentation and each child receiving meals had a unique pin number that was entered when the meal was received. (May need a back up recording method for pin numbers in areas that are rural and have unreliable cell phone service/internet connectivity).
  • Recommendation: Talk to members of the community to get feedback about needs and potential partnerships.
Source: No Kid Hungry

See a recording of the webinar here.