One local school district delivers more than 1,500 meals a week to all children in their community

Harlan County Schools received federal funding to feed all children in the county
Published: Sep. 16, 2020 at 6:50 PM EDT
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HARLAN COUNTY, Ky. (WYMT) - As students return to class virtually, some may wonder, ‘Where will meals come from that students once received at school?’

Once virtual learning began back in March, Emily Clem, Student and Food Services director for Harlan County Schools said the response for students needing food was overwhelming.

“We would deliver five days a week. Hot meals everyday breakfast and lunch,” she said.

Continuing feeding students in the summer months once school was out.

Clem said, “We knew that there was a need for our students to still be fed."

“We want to be able to feed everyone that needs the food or food insecure or just needs a meal," said Charles Morton, Superintendent of Harlan County Schools. Noting that the pandemic is bringing many unknown changes and uncertainty, “But what we do have are a lot of good people who are willing to work hard to try to come together for kids and their families."

Good people, like the cafeteria workers making meals early in the morning. Although that is not new to them, the capacity at which they are now feeding is. The USDA has allowed them to serve all children in the community ages 18 and younger.

“We’ve picked up drastically, like we had a fifty four count meal increase," said Lisa Piles, cafeteria manager. “Monday they get a hot lunch, two cold breakfast and then a cold lunch put into the bags," she said.

On Wednesday more than 1,500 meals went out for delivery.

“We miss the students and so this is a way of us reaching out to them,” said Clem.

Using two buses and one van, James Perry, one of the bus drivers said this service is much needed.

“Some kids don’t have this and some kids barely get a meal. When you know that behind closed doors they are frowning they come out and get the meals the y are smiling happy,” said Perry. “Some kids don’t have this and some kids barely get a meal. So this is a real true blessing to them.”

Serving food and love but most of all smiles.

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