The Kansas State Department of Education is authorizing school districts to assist licensed childcare facilities.
Childcare is deemed by the State to be a critical service that allows parents who are doctors, nurses, police officers, firefighters, grocery store staff and other essential personnel to continue to work during the COVID-19 pandemic. Childcare is a vital service that allows these businesses and services to continue operating and serving the community.
Many essential supplies that childcare providers need can be difficult to obtain during this time. Childcare providers need to ensure that they can sterilize their environments regularly and they need to ensure that children are fed healthy meals every day. Shelly Gunderson, Director of Child Nutrition for USD 475, is very familiar with the struggle of finding a reliable supply chain for items related to sanitization and serving healthy meals. She spends a lot of time tracking down food and sanitization items for the district’s food service program.
David Wild, USD 475 Chief Operations Officer, reports that Gunderson and her staff have prepared and furnished more than 41,000 sack meals between March 17th and Easter weekend. The District food service program recently increased its production from 2,300 to nearly 2,500 per day. At this rate, the District expects to serve more than 75,000 meals by the end of April.
“From the onset, we recognized this as a marathon effort, and we continue to set conditions necessary for long term program sustainment and success. This hasn’t been an easy endeavor for our staff as well as our supply chains so we appreciate the patience of our community,” Wild adds. Wild and Gunderson have worked diligently to seek out the supplies the district needs, and they want to help childcare providers who may be facing similar challenges.
USD475 Operations also works closely with the Geary County Emergency Management program. In addition to its food program, the District has provided cleaning supplies, digital thermometers and masks when requested by the County Emergency Operations Center.
Licensed providers struggling to buy food items, cleaning supplies and toiletries are instructed to contact Mrs Shelly Gunderson, USD 475 Director of Child Nutrition, at: ShellyGunderson@usd475.org.