Home Community Coweta Schools Serve Over 27,000 Meals to Children in First Three Weeks...

Coweta Schools Serve Over 27,000 Meals to Children in First Three Weeks of School Closures

Newnan High School cafeteria employees, faculty, staff, and SRO’s

Coweta County School System School Nutrition employees and other system personnel served over 27,000 lunches and breakfasts to children during the first weeks of emergency service during the school closure.

Meal service to out-of-school students at seven school sites across Coweta County increased from 5,823 breakfasts and lunches passed out the first week, to 10,190 last week, to 11,242 this week. That is 27,255 student meals provided during the three weeks of school closures, March 17 through April 3.

Volunteers with Coweta County’s Backpack Buddies organization were also at the seven school sites (see school sites in list, below) on Fridays – March 20 and 27 and April 3 – to provide parents with bags of donated food for the coming weekend. 

With the recent extension of school closures through the end of the school year, the school system plans for this program to continue at the seven sites throughout the duration of the school closure period.

Because USDA program guidelines only allow meal service during the time that students would otherwise be in school, school food service personnel can’t provide meals on weekends or during the April 6-10 Spring Break period.

However, several churches from around Coweta County will continue to be at the school sites at the same time, 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. each weekday, to pass out lunches to children April 6-10.  The churches and their volunteers are coordinating with Bridging the Gap, Backpack Buddies, and other community volunteers to continue food service for children.

Weekday meal service from school personnel will resume on Monday, April 13 and extend throughout the school closure period.

The emergency meal program provides an opportunity for families to drive through and pick up free meals for children at the sites on weekdays that the students would have otherwise been in school. The sites were selected because they are centrally located and easily reachable for many families. They are:

Newnan High School (pick up at bus loading zone, Armory Road)
Arnco-Sargent Elementary School (pick-up at car-rider zone, Highway 16)

Ruth Hill Elementary School (pick-up in car-rider zone, Sunset Lane)
Jefferson Parkway Elementary School (pick-up in car-rider zone, Farmer Industrial Blvd.)
Smokey Road Middle School (pick-up in bus-loading zone, Smokey Road)
Winston Dowdell Academy (pick-up in car-rider zone, Dowdell Street)
East Coweta High School (pick-up in car-rider loop, near front office, Highway 154)

All meals are offered from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. on weekdays that students would be in school.  Meals are for drive-through pick-up only. Meals include one lunch and one breakfast per child for children 18 and under, or 21 and under for youth with special needs.

Children must be present in order for meals to be provided, and any child present at any site will be served regardless of enrollment or where they go to school.

School nutrition employees from across Coweta County work at the seven Coweta school sites work with school SROs, school system transportation staff and school faculty to coordinate the sites each day. The school system plans to adjust and expand the program throughout this period based upon demand.

“It’s just been a great response,” said Coweta County School Nutrition Director Keshia Williams, who organized Coweta’s participation in the federal Summer Feeding program which allows Coweta’s response during the crisis.  “The community has really embraced it, and our staff members have been so happy to participate. The need is definitely there.”

If a student currently receives a documented Special Diet Meal Accommodation through the School Nutrition Program and wishes to participate, parents can let Williams know by calling 404-971-5198.

Coweta’s participation in the emergency school meal program was made possible because the school system had earlier applied to be a part of the federal USDA’s Summer Food Service Program.  That program will provide on-site meals and snacks during the summer break to students who receive free and reduced price meals.

The Coweta County Board of Education approved Coweta’s participation in the program on March 10, only a few days before school closures began.  The system’s participation, however, allowed Coweta Schools to provide the emergency pick-up food service during the closures.