Spring Break meal service helps close the gap for local families
For many families in DeKalb County School District (DCSD), a school serves many purposes. There’s the obvious: a haven for learning, social interaction, and growth; and there’s also the expected: preparing students for a successful future.
And then there’s the not so obvious: providing meal service and essentials to families in need—even when school is not in session.
DCSD’s School Nutrition Services and its Department of Parent & Family Engagement partnered with an anonymous donor and the Atlanta Community Food Bank on April 1 and April 2 to provide meal service during Spring Break 2019 at Indian Creek Elementary and Snapfinger Elementary schools. Attending families received a hot lunch, non-perishable breakfast foods, health services, and other pantry goods.
In addition, families had the opportunity to receive free health services courtesy of the DeKalb County Board of Health, DeKalb County Parks & Recreation, Georgia State University, the Dairy Alliance, and more. Volunteers from DCSD’s custodial staff, interpretation staff, and warehouse staff also gave their time to help each community.
According to Dr. Vasanne Tinsley, Deputy Superintendent for Student Support & Intervention, the meal service during Spring Break is part of DCSD’s mission of providing “wrap-around” services to all families within the district—not just those that attend DeKalb County schools.
“Hungry students can’t learn,” said Dr. Tinsley. “We’re providing lunch for students who might not otherwise receive a healthy meal while on break. One of our areas of emphasis is wrap-around support for our families. We know that with our free and reduced lunch numbers, mobility rates, and other indicators, some of our families are hurting. This is just one way for us to close the gap, help our community, and serve our families.”
Dr. Tinsley said Student Support & Intervention and School Nutrition Services is always open to forging new partnerships with volunteers, non-profit organizations, and local resources.
According to Dr. Connie Walker, Executive Director of School Nutrition Services, Indian Creek Elementary served approximately 850 lunches during the two-day event. Snapfinger Elementary served approximately 300 lunches.
Dr. Walker said the meals served are just a small step in the right direction for the DCSD community overall, which has a free and reduced lunch rate of 64 percent districtwide.
“Nutrition meals are essential for children every day, not just school days,” said Walker. “We love DeKalb schools and DeKalb students, and this is love in action.”
Dr. Walker said students also received a book bag filled with even more food supplies, including recipes, to help them throughout the week of Spring Break 2019.