The Baylor Collaborative on Hunger and Poverty has joined a national effort to deliver food to students in rural school districts closed because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Baylor Collaborative on Hunger and Poverty, McLane Global and PepsiCo will start distribution to the students next week and plan to deliver almost a million meals per week nationwide. In addition to distribution, PepsiCo will donate $1 million to the Baylor Collaborative on Hunger and Poverty to support school districts and to identify the children most in need, according to a Baylor University press release.
“We are grateful to come alongside USDA, PepsiCo and McLane Global to ensure that children impacted by school closures get access to nutritious food regardless of where they live,” Jeremy Everett, executive director of the Baylor Collaborative on Hunger and Poverty, is quoted as saying in the press release. “We know from firsthand experience that families with children who live in rural communities across the U.S. are often unable to access the existing food sites. Meal delivery is critical for children in rural America to have consistent access to food when school is out. This is one way that we — as citizens of this great nation — can respond to our neighbors in need.”
Students will get boxes with five days of shelf-stable, nutritious, individually packaged food that meets U.S. Department of Agriculture summer food requirements, the press release states. The delivery system is intended to ensure rural children receive nutritious food while limiting exposure to COVID-19.
“School closings in response to COVID-19 mean that millions of students who depend on school meals may not have their nutritional needs met. And because nutritious food is essential for students to learn and grow, we’re working with Baylor to help fill this critical gap,” PepsiCo Foundation President Jon Banner said in the press release. “Our $1 million contribution to Baylor will immediately help identify children most at risk and then PepsiCo’s nutrition program Food for Good will provide at least 200,000 meals per week for them. It’s one way we will help nourish young people across the country and support their development in the midst of this crisis.”
The USDA will use methods learned through a summer pilot program in 2019 to deliver food boxes to children in rural areas. Baylor will coordinate with state officials to select students who do not currently have access to a Summer Food Service Program site and live in an area with an active outbreak of COVID-19, according to the press release.
“McLane Global was proud to take part in the success of the summer Meals-2-You home delivery pilot program in 2019,” McLand Global Chairman Denton McLane said in the press release. “It was a great opportunity to bring private industry best practices together with the USDA to combat rural hunger. Given the rapid disruptions driven by COVID-19, we can work together to swiftly take this model nationwide. McLane Global is ready to do its part to support the fight against hunger through this crisis.”
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