Since March, Cobb Schools staff have packed more than 400,000 meals for students in need—a service that will continue through July.
Cobb students across the District will be able to continue to pick up a 5-day supply of breakfasts and lunches at eight school locations. Starting June 29, the meal pickup times will shift slightly to 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. each Monday.
The public/private partnership approach initiated when COVID-19 closed school buildings on March 13th has helped make Cobb Schools Summer Meal program extension possible through July 20—the last day of scheduled meal pickups.
Recognizing the need of the school community, Cobb Schools quickly launched a way to provide students access to food even while school buildings remained closed. 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 during summer break.
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 since 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 that 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 be provided to anyone who is under 18 and present at the pickup location, including pre-K students, rising kindergartners, recent graduates under 18, and even students new to Cobb County.
“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.