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Feeding program launches, serving 3,800 meals in two days

A program created by LCPS to keep youth in Lenoir County adequately fed while public schools are closed distributed more than 3,800 meals in its first two days at sites across the county.

Cafeteria worker hands a Styrofoam container to a woman. “It’s a good start,” Danelle Smith, the district’s child nutrition director, said on Wednesday, the second day of the program. “We expect that number will rise sharply each day and will continue to rise as word about the program gets around.”

Wednesday’s meal count was up about 300 from the first day.

A bag lunch and next-day breakfast are provided to all youth 18 and younger in Lenoir County and all LCPS students regardless of age. The program operates weekdays from 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. from five school cafeterias – Kinston, North Lenoir and South Lenoir high schools, Southeast Elementary School and E.B. Frink Middle School.

Under relaxed USDA rules related to the coronavirus emergency, parents are allowed to pick up meals for their children. Children can also pick up meals without being accompanied by parents. Any eligible youth can be served at any site.

“We want to make this as easy as possible for young people to get the nutrition they need,” Smith said.

Lunch typically consists of a hot sandwich – chicken or a burger, for instance – and a fruit and vegetable serving and milk. Breakfast is a non-perishable item like cereal or a toaster pastry, fruit and milk. All items meet USDA standards for school meals.

The meals are strictly take-out; no on-site dining is allowed.

LCPS has used district and school social media sites to make students and parents aware of the feeding program and news outlets throughout the area have provided information about the program.

Information about the feeding program, as well as LCPS’s plans and procedures related to the coronavirus outbreak, is at www.lcpsnc.org.

Photo caption:

Betty Baker picks up lunch and breakfast meals for a student at Southeast Elementary School on Tuesday, the first day of LCPS's feeding program, while cafeteria manager Kameka Stevenson makes a tally.