JCS Child Nutrition Excels

JCS Child Nutrition Excels
Posted on 04/20/2020
CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. -- Teachers and administrators in Jefferson County Schools (JCS) have done an incredible job of transitioning to a virtual instructional platform in response to the COVID-19 Pandemic. Their work is evident to the nearly 9,000 students and families they serve, but there has been an equally impressive transition made as cooks, transportation, and maintenance staff shifted the Child Nutrition Plan to mobile sites and kept students fed.
Moving from serving meals in a school setting to a community-wide distribution model in a matter of days is unprecedented. When Gov. Jim Justice announced the state-wide school closure on Friday, March 13, 2020, packed meals were ready to go at more than a dozen sites around the county the following Monday. Volunteers helped to gather, inventory, pack, transport, and deliver food for the first five days of the closure while long-term plans were made.
The staff rallied and overcame many challenges in the initial week including rapidly expanding refrigeration capability to reduce food loss of dairy, increasing food sources with longer shelf lives, establishing routes pinpointed to target the greatest need and partnering with local agencies for safe and orderly distribution. Those local partners played a critical role in helping to work through logistical issues such as the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department directing traffic at delivery sites to handle the influx of people during distribution and the Jefferson County Health Department developing safety protocols for individual food distribution sites that followed CDC guidelines for social distancing, keeping families, students, and JCS volunteers safe.
Moving forward, JCS has expanded their partnerships by adding Kilmer’s Farm Market. Kilmer’s staff will pack USDA reimbursable meals and deliver them to the JCS Transportation Department where volunteers and staff will load them for distribution at the sites. These efforts will both support a local business during this crisis and enhance the safety of the volunteers working to provide food to children.
Derek Kilmer, owner of Kilmer’s Farm Market, said he is happy to partner with JCS to help serve students.
“My staff is proud to be doing this. Everyone is working with a sense of urgency and doing it with a good attitude knowing this food is going to the kids in our community.  It’s really an honor to be able to help in a time of need.”
Through using the exemplary local resources, JCS has freed up state resources such as the National Guard to serve other areas of West Virginia while still meeting the need of Jefferson County residents. JCS is now providing 10,000 meals per week to Jefferson County families in need and supporting local businesses as it supports our children. Jefferson County Schools is grateful to be a part of such a caring and supportive community and we thank our staff for their enormous contributions in keeping that community safe, fed, and educated through this crisis.

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