Copperas Cove ISD opens summer feeding program on Monday
Special to Leader-Press
The Copperas Cove ISD Child Nutrition Department served more than 88,000 meals to children following spring break through the end of the school year. That is in addition to the nearly 17,000 meals the nutrition staff prepared and were delivered by the CCISD Transportation Department for the community’s elderly.
CCISD nutrition staff open their summer feeding program on Monday, June 8, to ensure children are also fed throughout the summer. This year’s program is extended to provide weekend, just as the feeding program did during the school year that ended on May 30.
The pandemic will require students to pick up the meals and take them home rather than eat them at the school, said CCISD Director of Child Nutrition and Warehouse Services Melissa Bryan.
“The biggest challenges were to make sure that we had enough packaging to send items home for the families. We wanted to use as much of our existing inventory that we had in-house already, so we just had to come up with creative ways to package the items,” Bryan said. “We also then needed to make sure we sent home appropriate instructions for temperature control to make sure that we stayed in compliance with safety requirements.”
For example the child nutrition department normally made homemade calzones and then served them fresh out of the oven to the students. However, to send them home with students, staff made and baked them, cooled them down, wrapped them and then froze them so that they could send them home for later in the week for weekend meals. Instructions to keep them frozen until ready to be heated in microwave are included with the meals.
“I think many districts struggled with trying to find individually wrapped items instead of trying to come up with solutions that would allow them to use their existing inventory. Individually wrapped items are a whole lot more expensive and with all the schools in the nation trying to pull them for their use, items were hard to order,” Bryan said. “However, I work with a great staff who continually think outside the box and come up with creative solutions to still serve the items that kids are familiar with that we normally serve during school.”
Meals will continue to be available for pick-up at Copperas Cove Junior High School and Fairview/Miss Jewell Elementary. Both breakfast and lunch may be picked up from 11 a.m.-12 p.m. each day with weekend meals and Monday breakfast picked up on Fridays.
“Summer Feeding is very important, especially now during this time when many families have lost their jobs and are not working,” Bryan said. “The school district works to support our families are struggling. Kids should not have to worry about if they are going to eat. This is where our CCISD Child Nutrition Department fills in the gaps for the families of our community.”