By Echo Menges
The Knox County R-1 School District will be ready to roll out delivered box lunches and breakfasts on Tuesday, March 24, to any child in Knox County, age 1 to 18, whose guardian wants to participate. The food program is free of charge - regardless of financial means.
“We’re just trying to make sure that kids are fed in a desperate time,” said Kisha Goodwin, KCR-1 Opaa Director of Nutrition Services. “We have been talking about it since we knew that school closure was a possibility, but it didn’t come together until yesterday. I talked to (KCR-1 Superintendent Andy Turgeon) and we both thought that trying to find a way to feed the kids was the priority.”
The district will deliver meals to homes, daycares or wherever families request meals to be delivered.
“We are going to create bus routes according to the addresses given and we are going to bus meals to families,” said Goodwin.
The district has already begun signing families up for the program online via the district’s website and Facebook page.
“As of right now I have gotten 85 responses back, which is anywhere from 150 to 200 meals being served, and I expect that number to go up before Tuesday,” said Goodwin.
Just like the summer school lunch program, specific nutrition and safety criteria must be followed, which have been set forth by the Department of Health and Senior Services. Opaa, which is the company contracted by the district to provide school meals, also has stringent guidelines in place for kitchen staff and delivery people to prevent any kind of cross contamination.
Guardians with children living in Knox County who want to participate but do not have access to the internet are asked to call the district office and leave a message at: (660)397-2228 Ext. 9.
“As of now (we will deliver) through the anticipated start back date,” said Goodwin.
The KCR-1 School District has announced it will be closed through March 31. The district will re-evaluate the closure before reopening.