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OXFORD — Granville County Public Schools said last week it had given out more than a quarter-million free meals to students and children since schools closed in March.
“Staff at GCPS have been working tirelessly to meet the academic, social-emotional, and nutritional needs of our students,” the district said in a press release.
The district had served 292,814 meals as of last week, it said.
The meals include fresh fruit, vegetables, yogurt, cheese sticks, breakfast bars, sandwiches, pizza, nachos and tater tots — items regularly on the school menu. Milk and occasional cookies are included as well.
At first offering the service five days a week, the district shifted after spring break to provide the meal handouts once a week, with enough food to last each student until the next handout.
The service is provided at 26 drive-thru sites in the county. Door delivery is made to homes of disabled children and others who need the service.
Child Nutrition Director Patricia Crute led the effort to give meals to all kids who needed it, the district said. Crute has worked for the schools for 29 years.
“Child nutrition has always been my passion,” Crute said. “Being able to provide meals to our children during this time is what I feel I am supposed to do. I love knowing that my staff and I, with the help of all of the volunteers and the staff from our Transportation and Maintenance departments, are making a difference in the lives of our children.”
Superintendent McLean offered her perspective on the effort, sharing, “I could not be prouder of our team. While we couldn’t control the challenges brought on by this pandemic, we can control how we respond and continue to meet our children’s needs.
“I am truly grateful to the hard-working and dedicated staff in our Child Nutrition, Transportation, and Maintenance Departments, as well as our Teacher Assistants, Custodians and all of the other employees who have helped make this meal service possible.
“I also want to send a special thank you out to the countless volunteers who have also been on the front lines with us in helping make sure our children do not go hungry. We truly are blessed in this community for how we all join together in taking care of our children and making their welfare the top priority.”
The current meal service will continue through the end of the regular school year. The last day for drive-thru and delivery will be provided on Tuesday, June 2.
A modified summer feeding program is currently being planned to help meet the nutritional needs of children while school is not in session. Details about that program will be provided to families soon.