1.5 mil­lion rea­sons to thank Food and Nu­tri­tion Ser­vices

The Dundalk Eagle - - REC COUNCIL NEWS - By TEAM BCPS

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 com­mu­ni­ca­tions@bcps.org.

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.

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