KCS pandemic feeding program ends having served more than 313,000 meals

Rick Wagner • May 25, 2020 at 2:45 PM

KINGSPORT — When the last 2019-20 free meals were served through the Kingsport City Schools pandemic emergency feeding program Thursday afternoon, they pushed the total number of meals served since the initiative began in mid-March past 313,000.

That represented drive-thru pickups and bus deliveries combined.

The program during the closure of schools because of the COVID-19 pandemic provided free meals to anyone 18 or younger regardless of enrollment or residency. It started out serving at 11 school sites, then added  some bus deliveries, growing into deliveries on all bus routes plus other areas too close to schools (one mile or less) for regular bus routes.

Since March 17, a total of 42 school days that ended May 21, the School Nutrition Services staff, bus drivers and other employees working the U.S. Department of Agriculture program served 313,703 meals. The food was served only on what would have been regular school days.

“Since March 30, 2020, we have averaged serving 8,037 meals per day, with 2,612 per day at school sites and 5,425 via school bus deliveries,” a Friday statement from the city school system said.

“We were thrilled that we were able to support our community this way in such a unique and difficult time,” Assistant Superintendent of Administration Andy True said. He said school nutrition staff, bus drivers, instructional assistants and others who helped with the program deserve thanks.

The annual summer feeding program, called Summer Meals for Kids, will return May 26-July 17, except for July 3, at three schools — Sevier Middle and Johnson and Washington elementaries — and by bus delivery. The grab-and-go meals will be available between 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. each weekday.

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