School Meals Programs and Feeding Children in the Time of Coronavirus
As the spread of COVID-19 or Coronavirus sweeps the U.S., nutrition directors are left wondering how they will serve meals to children who qualify for the Free and Reduced Meals Program.
There’s reason for concern: more than 11 million children live in food insecure homes. With the schools closing and people losing jobs due to the Coronavirus outbreak, this number could climb even higher.
All nutrition directors are aware that the only meal(s) some students receive all day are the ones they eat at school. That’s why school nutrition departments all across the country are looking for ways to get food to the people who need it most.
In this post, you will learn the following:
- How a Boston school district is serving students using online ordering and online catering.
- Why online ordering and catering helps schools during mandated school closures.
- How Meals Plus can help your nutrition department for FREE during the outbreak.
Let’s take a look at how one school is using online ordering and catering to serve its students and community during the Coronavirus outbreak.
Public Schools of Brookline Serves the Community Using Meals Plus
As the threat of schools closing due to COVID-19 became a reality, the administrators for the Public Schools of Brookline knew they had to find a way to feed their students. Many of their students qualify for the Free and Reduced program and depend on school meals as a main food source.
Brookline administrators needed a solution that ensured the children in their community received meals despite the school closures. They reached out to Meals Plus for help.
Our K-12 experts worked with Brookline to set up remote serving locations and an Online Community Catering ordering system. This innovative approach helps the district to serve students aged 18 and under through Grab-N-Go meals from two different locations.
In addition, the district is partnering with Boston municipal departments and community groups to provide relief to families that are unable to make it to the grocery store using the Meals Plus catering tools.
If you’d like to read more, check out this press release.
Online Ordering for Students
While schools are closed, one way you can offer meals to your Free and Reduced qualified students is online ordering.
How does online ordering for students work?
Students visit your website and enter their contact information. They then have the ability to choose a pick-up date and location. Next, the student selects their meal and receives an order confirmation. They can even get a text letting them know their order is ready!
What are the students’ pick-up options?
Once students place an order online, there are several pick-up options you can offer: Grab-N-Go, Bus Stop Delivery, or Drive Thru.
Grab-N-Go: This option allows students to pick-up their meals from a designated location. There can be more than one location throughout the district.
Bus Stop Delivery: With this option, meals are delivered at specific times to a child’s bus stop.
Drive Thru: Much like the Grab-N-Go option, students pick up their meal at a designated location, but have the convenience of going to a drive-thru window.
Online Catering for the Community
Some school districts are partnering with community groups (churches and food banks) and municipal departments (local health and fire departments or Parks and Recreation) to get meals out to the community at large.
For instance, Public Schools of Brookline is using the Meals Plus Online Catering tool to partner with their local municipal departments to serve meals to their community members.
With Online Community Catering, municipal department staff place orders for individual meals in bulk meal quantities, and then either pick-up the meals from the school kitchen or have the meals delivered to the community site for serving.
We are ready to help you serve students.
Many schools are closed throughout the month of March due to the Coronavirus outbreak. And with new information cropping up almost daily, it’s impossible to know how long these school closures will actually last.
At Meals Plus, we know the importance of good nutrition for children. We also know that many children face food insecurity at home. We want to help.
If you need assistance serving meals to your students, we are working with school nutrition departments for free for the remainder of the 2019/2020 school year.
Please call 1-800-541-8999 to learn more OR email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.