Food Service in Pandemic


Food Service in Pandemic: How We Responded

By Georgia Marshall
Food Services Coordinator
Murphysboro CUSD 186

When the Pandemic Hit
When Governor Pritzker ordered Illinois to close due to COVID-19 in March of 2020, school districts had to shift gears and figure out how to serve students. There was no way of knowing how long schools would be closed and there was worry that many students living in poverty would be missing meals that had previously been provided at school each day. School districts across Illinois began preparing breakfast and lunch for students and distributing those meals by either delivering them on school buses/vans or meal distribution sites throughout communities for pickup using both paid staff and volunteers. At Murphysboro CUSD 186, we have had a lot of students to serve, and participation in the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) Summer Food Program has allowed us to serve pre-made sandwiches on croissants, Lunchables, Pop Tarts, cereal, cheese sticks, yogurt, in-season fruit (apples), chips and salsa and other food that was easy to package and transport in bulk. As the pandemic progressed, and school went remote for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year, school districts continued providing meals throughout the summer until school started in August.

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