USD 475 has accelerated its “Grab-and-Go” meal program upon being directed by the Governor of Kansas to close all schools.
Shelly Gunderson, District Director of Child Nutrition, submitted a waiver to the Kansas Department of Education following the announcement of the closure on the 13th. The program was on its feet by Tuesday of last week.
The original waiver for five delivery sites was amended during the course of last week and now contains eight sites including Milford and Grandview Elementary schools. B&B Busing is working with the District in making delivery to sites as needed.
- In four days of performance last week the Central Kitchen distributed 4,390 total meals.
- On Monday, the staff prepared 2,020 meals available for distribution.
- In the first five days of the program kitchen staff, limited to no more than 10 people, prepared and distributed 3,205 lunch and 3,205 breakfast meals for a total of 6,410 meals.
Mrs Jakira McKinney is a member of the Central Kitchen staff and represents the dedication of this selfless group of people. Mrs. McKinney has five children of her own with a sixth on the way, yet she cheerfully arrives to do her part at 5am to take her turn in the rotation of employees that help prepare meals five days a week.
David Wild, Chief Operations Officer, states that USD 475 is being deliberate in choosing distribution sites. By using sites owned and controlled by the District, it can:
- Ensure that each site is sanitized daily.
- Ensure food can be properly managed in a clean environment.
- Ensure health compliance and the safety of students, parents, employees and volunteers involved in the program.
Additionally, Mrs. Kaye Fisher, District Transportation Coordinator, is conducting a confidential poll of rural families who may require food assistance. B&B Busing will be assisting the district by meeting those transportation needs as they arise.
Wild notes that Mrs. Gunderson and her team, challenged by this crisis, have done an exceptional job of standing up a District program that is distributing meals 10 times the volume of her summer lunch program and she has done it in a process driven, efficient and reliable manner.
There are additional food distributions sites in Geary County, through the efforts of United Way and Live Well Geary County. Those sites are not managed by USD 475, but they offer similar meals for children, in addition to meal kits for families.