As we navigate these uncertain times, the team at Wellness in the Schools sends immense gratitude. Gratitude to the unsung heroes in school kitchens around the country who are taking real risks to make sure their “babies” are fed. 31 million children rely on school meals in the most normal of times. And, now, in such uncertainty, there is one thing that is certain – our food service professionals around the country will provide meals for school children as first responders in an unparalleled crisis.
We have witnessed our partners around the country — from California; to Trenton and Camden, NJ; to South Florida, Washington, DC, and finally, to our partners in NYC — rallying their teams to ensure that each child has not just one meal, but often two and three meals each school day, and packages for weekends too. They have not missed a day of feeding, even as the rest of us face empty grocery shelves and crowded grocery lines.
In NYC alone, these women and men are feeding over 100 at-risk children who require pureed foods, or other types of adaptations; they are delivering to homeless shelters; this week they are providing meals in every single NYC school building – all 1700 of them. Participation has increased tenfold since Monday as we all help to get the word out that 1M NYC school children are being taken care of by the women and men who have been following strict food safety protocols not just today, but for years. Next week, NYC will move to a summer feeding model, with over 400 buildings ready to nourish our most vulnerable populations. Find out where here.
To most of us, food is nourishment, food is love. Preparing a meal for someone is an act of kindness and a gesture of care. Our partners are offering this kindness and care to millions of children daily. To the lunch ladies (and men) around the country, to your leadership and operation teams, to your families who watch as you leave your homes before the sun rises, we THANK YOU. We thank you for your sacrifices to feed kids healthy food every day and now, for putting your lives at risk to do so. We feel incredibly proud to know so many of you through our work together. We have stood by you in the best of times. And, now, we stand beside you in these most extraordinary of times as you chop, dice and serve alone. You are our heroes.
To our community, reach out to your local district and say thank you. Ask how you can help. Chances are your thank you will be all they need, as they are running smooth operations and have this under control, as always.
To our community, link here to learn how Wellness in the Schools is responding during this time and to find resources for both those in need and those who can help. We are in this together.