North Penn has struggled to make a number of decisions since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. When will we reopen our schools? How will this work for staff and students? What security measures must be put in place? However, one issue was resolved by the district almost instantly after schools closed in March; how to provide meals to families in North Penn who need them.
From March 17, free meals were distributed to five schools in the district for three hours a day. By the end of March 25, 7,822 meals had been served in the first seven days alone. On March 30, School Nutrition Services (SNS) announced that meal distributions were reduced to just twice a week; 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Mondays (three days of meals served) and Thursdays (four days of meals served).
âEven though we will limit our distribution days, we will increase the amount of meals we distribute, so now we also offer an additional breakfast and lunch for a weekend meal,â Melissa Froelich, District Services Coordinator school nutrition, said The journalist March 26.
Distributions continued through the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year and throughout the summer, with 340,000 meals served as of August 27.
As of the first day of the 2020-2021 school year, August 31, pickup locations have changed for all elementary schools except Knapp (due to ongoing construction) and the school Intermediate Penndale. From now on, meals would only be collected once a week, on Mondays.
As the school year began, Froelich and SNS continued to adapt to what worked best for North Penn families in need of food and brainstormed creative ways to mix up SNS menus.
âWe’re going to make fresh muffins, we’re going to make smoothies, homemade veggie burgers, things like that that we can freeze and send in our weekly meal packages. The first few weeks we’ll try to figure out how some of the logistics will work, but by probably mid-September you’ll see other new items on the menu â, Froelich told “The Reporter” on September 8.
At the North Penn School Board’s October action meeting, CFO Steve Skrocki said the USDA Expanded Free Meal Program from January 1, 2021 until the end of the school year, meaning any North Penn student who needs a meal will be able to get it for free until at least the end of the 2020-2021 school year. Skrocki also shared at the December 7 meeting that a total of 742,386 meals had been served.
SNS employees have worked tirelessly over the past 9 months to serve hundreds of thousands of meals to local families in need, and will continue to do so for as long as needed. They are true heroes of 2020.
Stay tuned The knight crier for a full article on the work of the school nutrition service throughout the pandemic in early 2021, when they are expected to hit the one million meal mark.