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BCSD continues to serve meals at no-cost to students

BCSD continues to provide meals at no cost to students
BCSD continues to provide meals at no cost to students

Goose Creek Elementary cafeteria operators hand out food in the drive through on Tuesday.

https://youtu.be/ze3hhFuxB-8

Published on Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020

GCE cafeteria staff prepare food to be picked up in the drive-thru

BCSD photo / Monica Kreber

As 10:45 a.m. approached on Tuesday, cafeteria operators at Goose Creek Elementary were busy multitasking: some staff were busy in the kitchen, others were shuffling through the school to deliver lunches to classrooms.

Two operators in particular were prepping the “drive-through” in the car rider loop. On Tuesday’s menu, families picked up hamburgers, hot dogs, baked beans, French fries, fresh fruit, milk and chocolate milk, Poptarts and juice (the food menus change daily).

These lunch and breakfast items were items that the staff bagged ahead of time to give out to families. Marliese King and Terrence Franklin had a bit of a system going where Franklin would hand King the food as she greeted parents from the passenger side window as they pulled up.

Sometimes King would chat with the parents as they received their food – if a blended distance learning (BDL)/virtual learning student was in the car as well, she would greet them too. A few families were people King recognized as former customers of hers at Publix, where she used to work.

As a parent pulled up, King would ask how many meals the parent needed, and then supply a hot lunch and a cold breakfast.

Berkeley County School District is continuing to offer meals at no-cost to all students through Dec. 31. The opportunity is made possible through the Seamless Summer Option, a federal program which allows school districts to provide free summer meals in low-income areas during the traditional summer vacation periods. It is an extension of the National School Lunch Program.

The service will continue to be provided through Dec. 31 – or until funds run out.

The district received confirmation the week before school started from the South Carolina State Department of Education that the USDA will allow the Child Nutrition Department to serve meals at no cost.

Families with students learning from home should visit the sites listed below between 10:45 a.m. and 11:45 a.m. to collect the meals.

Benita Smith, director of Child Nutrition Services, said offering the meals at no-cost will benefit families after the hardships they have faced during the pandemic.

“We’re glad to have our students that chose to come back inside of the buildings, and have the opportunity to feed all of our children,” she said.

Smith said the Child Nutrition Department is excited to welcome back students.

“We’re glad to have our students that chose to come back inside of the buildings, and have the opportunity to feed all of our children,” she said.

Smith said the district always wants to take care of all of students.

“We certainly hope that feeding our children at no cost will be a savings to the families and that they will actually take advantage of being able to come to the sites to pick up the two meals at one time to help their households,” she said.

Families are still encouraged to fill out free and reduced meal applications to be processed for when the free meal program ends. The district has processed more than 1,500 applications so far. Families should apply so that their benefits will already be in place if the district has to roll back over to the National School Lunch Program.

Paper copies of the free and reduced lunch forms are available at each district school for families that may need them. For questions regarding the free and reduced lunch applications, please contact Kristina Wingo at 843-899-5054.

BDL/virtual learning families should visit the following area sites from 10:45 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. for drive-through pickup:

  • Berkeley Elementary School
  • Cainhoy Elementary   
  • Cane Bay Elementary                                         
  • Cross Elementary School   
  • Devon Forest Elementary                                        
  • Goose Creek Elementary                                       
  • Hanahan Elementary School
  • H.E. Bonner Elementary School 
  • Philip Simmons Elementary
  • Sangaree Elementary
  • St. Stephen Middle