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Buses delivering food to hundreds of students

    Jones County school staff members and volunteers load meals onto buses to be distributed to students at their homes around the county. CHUCK THOMPSON/Staff
    One of the Jones County school busses stops to deliver meals to students’ parents in Gray last Thursday. CHUCK THOMPSON/Staff

With Jones County schools in their second week of being shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic, nutrition staff members and volunteers with the transportation and maintenance divisions, plus administrators and teachers, are continuing to work to distribute meals to students around the county who need them.

Nutrition director Rosalyn Foster said Friday that they prepared an average of 800 meals a day, which were breakfast and lunch combinations, that were then distributed.

“We’re using the kitchens at Gray Elementary School and Clifton Ridge Middle School to prepare the food. We’ve been running six buses, three from each school, on routes that our drivers and transportation director Wendy Vaughn came up with to reach the most children,” Foster said. “And we have other volunteers, teachers, administrators, community members and people from the Jones County Recreation Department, who are taking meals to those not on one of the bus routes.”

The bagged meals have included cold foods and cooked foods, Foster said.

The breakfast meals have four items – milk, grain, fruit and meat or meat alternate. The lunch meals have those same four items plus a vegetable.

“Some of our breakfasts are grab and go packs with cereal, fruit, breakfast bars and such as that. But we’ve also sent out chicken biscuits, sausage biscuits and fruit cups,” she said.

“Thursday’s lunch included ham, cheese and lettuce in whole grain wraps. Friday we had turkey dogs on whole grain buns. We’re trying to offer a variety consistent with what we can obtain and what we can prepare that meets the time and temperature control requirements we have.”

As the buses make their routes, they stop at homes and a parent or guardian comes out so that the volunteers on the bus may hand out the meals.

Foster said the school system has received waivers to be able to deliver the food to children at their homes.

“Some of the summer programs we’ve had have required the children to come eat at distribution locations, but of course, we can’t have people congregating now, so we’ve received permission to distribute the meals. We keep getting new directives so we may have to alter our methods as we go along, but we’ll do whatever we can to continue to provide for our children.”