Each Monday, Cobb students across the District have been able to pick up a 5-day supply of breakfasts and lunches at eight school locations from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thanks to the public/private partnership approach which was initiated when COVID-19 closed school buildings on March 13th, Cobb students will be able to continue to pick up food through at least the end of June.
Since Cobb Schools began providing the curbside food distributions, Cobb students have been provided approximately 217,582 meals for students in need. Cobb students were even able to pick up meals during spring break. In what has been a challenging and ever-changing environment, the approach Cobb has taken to feed students in need hasn’t had to change as public health guidance has changed. By providing food once a week, in a financially responsible and socially distant manner, both Cobb students and staff have been kept healthy, safe, and know what they can expect every single Monday, including Monday’s this summer.
The Cobb Food and Nutrition Department, led by Executive Director Emily Hanlin, has also played a big role in making sure students-in-need receive a sustainable supply of food. Ms. Hanlin’s team of Food and Nutrition experts have been serving Cobb students on the front lines sine the COVID-19 pandemic began. Their ability to make food, anytime and anywhere they’ve been asked has been an example of what it means to serve students as “One Team”.
Although the Food and Nutrition team makes it looks easy, feeding students in need isn’t as easy you might think. “What most people don’t know about distributing food to students during COVID-19 school closures is local taxpayer dollars aren’t spent on food for students, Federal dollars are. These eight sites were selected because they allow us to be reimbursed by the Federal government, many of our schools across Cobb don’t allow for that option”, said Chief Operations Officer Marc Smith.
Meals will provided to anyone who is under 18 and present at the pick up location, including pre-K students, rising kindergartners, recent graduates under 18, and even students new to Cobb County. School staff anticipate serving about 225,000 meals from May 25 to June 26.
“Our students need us now more than ever, and we are committed to helping our Cobb students who may be struggling during this time. We have been very thoughtful about supporting our students in a sustainable, financially responsible way. I am thankful we live in a community with such supportive staff and volunteers who are dedicated to every student in the Cobb County School District,” said Superintendent Chris Ragsdale.