CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Following a short two-day hiatus, the feeding program for Kanawha County Schools hit the road on Wednesday.
Around 200 school buses left from the various high schools in the county mid-morning, loaded up with hundreds of three-day meal packets with both breakfast and lunch to last students for the rest of the week.
Dianne Miller, the Child Nutrition Director at Kanawha County Schools told MetroNews that a few hundred workers and volunteers are making sure that roughly 17,000 children who normally get fed on a typical day in the state’s largest school district get fed.
“It’s taking a village to get this done this time,” she said while riding a bus on Wednesday.
“We have cooks, we have aids, we have clerks, we have secretaries, administrators, and board members. We have these wonderful bus drivers who continue to take us around the neighborhood.”
On Sunday evening, the school district announced a pause to the program, citing health concerns for workers from the COVID-19 outbreak. The district had been serving meals through the bus delivery route and pick up at all 68 county schools since schools around the state closed on March 16.
The new program for Kanawha County features a weekly route that will take off every Monday and deliver breakfast and lunch to students for the entire week.
Miller said a few schools in the district still have a few volunteers for pickup and everyone in the process is equipped with gloves, masks, and any protective gear while serving.
Wednesday’s drop-offs on buses featured around 150 meal packs per bus. Meals featured ham and cheese sandwich, turkey and cheese rollup, pepperoni rolls, two bags of chips, one bag of pretzels, three bags of baby carrots with ranch, apples, and oranges.
For breakfast, there was cereal, zucchini bread, cheese stick, milk, and juice.
Miller said on the final day of the old program on Friday, 9,000 lunches for given out on the bus routes. She said the district is serving every student in any way possible.
“Homeschoolers that we typically would not have served at the school level, we possibly are getting meals to them as well,” Miller said.
“We do have some students who are with the West Virginia School for the Blind and we are servicing their needs. As well as special dietary needs are being met for the students.”
Miller said she is proud of everyone for putting together the new program. The thousands of meals for the week will be put together on the weekends.
“We are going to continue this until we don’t have any ability to complete our mission,” she said. “I will do this until I don’t have the supplies or I don’t have the human resources to do this.”
On Wednesday, Gov. Jim Justice announced the closure of schools through April 20. He put a stay-at-home order in place for the state that went into effect on Tuesday.