1.5 million reasons to thank Food and Nutrition Services
This is part of an occasional series about what BCPS students and staff are doing this summer — Summer Stories 2020. Want to suggest a story idea? Send it to email@example.com.
Back in the good old days of February and early March 2020, it was common to hear students say thank you when school staff handed them their breakfasts or lunches. But what is the appropriate way to say thank you for 1.5 million meals served in less than five months?
When the state mandated that Baltimore County Public Schools close its school buildings and offices in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, none of us had any idea of the road ahead.
But what BCPS leadership did know is that many students and their caregivers depend on schools for free and reduced-price meals, and that those students needed to be served. Karen Levenstein, director of Food and Nutrition Services, and her team immediately jumped into action.
As the months have passed, this spring’s emergency mobile food service coordinated by the BCPS
Office of Food and Nutrition Services seamlessly transitioned into the traditional summer meals program. Now, every Monday through Thursday, free breakfast and lunch meals are distributed at more than 80 locations. (On Thursday, students receive meals for both Thursday and Friday.)
From mid-March through the end of July, 1,575,778 meals were served to BCPS students. Whew!
Food and Nutrition Services staff with thank yous from students and their families
In addition to thank you notes from students and their families, schools and No Kid Hungry have showered praise on Food and Nutrition staff members.
Area businesses – like Farmhouse Greens, First Financial Federal Credit Union, Jersey Mike’s, and Jimmy’s Seafood – have rewarded Food and Nutrition Services staff for their hard work by serving them free meals.
All of this hard work was not accomplished alone. Beginning in April, the Office of Transportation partnered with Food and Nutrition Services to use school buses deliver meals to more distribution locations.
In an inter view with WBALTV, Sam Mason, a Food and Nutrition Services field representative, described the buses as “vital.” “They add to the fleet of those infamous white box trucks you see driving around the county,” he said.
In the same WBAL-TV story, a longtime BCPS bus driver, John Clark, said of the work, “It’s heartwarming to know that you’re here lending a hand making sure that our kids are taken care of.”
Looks like, despite all the hard work, it must be both heartwarming and sometimes just plain fun for the Food and Nutrition Services staff, too.
Food and Nutrition workers thank Jimmy’s Seafood for providing them with food as they work to ensure kids received their meals.