By the end of the 2020-2021 school year, the 13 Bucks County school districts will have distributed more than 2 million free meals to students. That provision — especially breakfasts — was already a key component of healthy learning environments. But in a timeframe where unemployment and economic stability wracked local families, it became even more vital, writes Damon C. Williams for the Bucks County Courier Times.
The districts committed to meeting the nutritional needs of millions of students, regardless of COVID-related school closures. When learning shifted from classrooms to dining rooms, connecting students with meals was reinvented as well. Some districts put bags out for mobile pick-up; others used their fleet of school buses.
Families quickly adapted.
“The community is responding very well to this, and have learned to rely on the program,” said Shannon Stone, food and nutrition supervisor for the Centennial School District with its six schools with a total of 5,285 students. “We have served over 500,000 meals to the community since March of 2020.”
Other districts also successfully worked to keep students consistently fed:
- Council Rock: more than half a million
- Palisades: 490 meals a week
- Bensalem Township: 128,000 breakfasts and 164,000 lunches
- Pennridge: 580,000 servings
Among the many upsides to delivery or carry-out school meals — atop the nutritional impact — is the opportunity to perhaps reduce food-shaming incidents in cafeteria lines.
For more on local school meal programs, see the Bucks County Courier Times.