Healthy Meals Continue for Students in Weakley County


WEAKLEY COUNTY — When Weakley County Schools closed March 17, Director of Schools Randy Frazier asked the Nutrition Department to mobilize and continue meal production and distribution as long as necessary. Now that schools have distributed report cards and summer break has begun, Trista Snider, the department director, and her staff want families to know that meal distribution continues throughout June and July.

As the kitchen staff approaches the milestone of having prepared a quarter of a million breakfasts and lunches, the volunteers who manage the 13 locations where meals are distributed each Tuesday and Friday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. are looking to increase their numbers.

“We are grateful to our nutrition staff, our principals, teachers, school staff, SROs and bus drivers who have gotten us through eleven weeks of providing a phenomenal amount of meals,” said Randy Frazier in a recent meeting with administrators. “And now we need to call on our communities to help us continue the program throughout the summer. It will be great to give some of our faithful a little break, and I’m sure some of our churches and organizations have volunteers who can fill that need.”

Volunteers are encouraged to notify the school principal at the meal distribution site if they are available to assist.

Meals are distributed to any child in the county under 18 years of age regardless of whether they are enrolled in one of the ten schools.

“With so much economic upheaval due to COVID-19, providing meals was a way to ensure that children in our communities would continue to have healthy food options,” said Frazier of the decision to open meals to a larger audience not solely focused on children receiving free or reduced lunches.

By May 1, Snider noted that the highest number of students reached by the countywide effort had peaked at more than 2,100. At the end of May, that number declined to 1,318.

“We hope that means that people found the temporary assistance valuable but now that they are returning to work they no longer feel the additional meals are necessary,” she said. “But, if that’s not the case, and they are under the impression that we have stopped providing meals, we certainly want to clear up that misconception. We are still packing those boxes and bags!”

Weakley County concluded the 2019-2020 academic year with 57.28 percent (approximately 2,300) of the student population considered economically disadvantaged and qualifying for free or reduced priced meals. Those families were encouraged to apply for the recent Emergency Meals to You offered by The Baylor Collaborative on Hunger and Poverty.

More than 500 children qualified to receive these meals-by-mail packages every two weeks in June. The meals will be in addition to the meals distributed by the County.

The Baylor program notified Snider that rural communities such as Weakley County may see a slight delay in the initial deliveries due to issues with food supply and shipping