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‘They do it for the kids’ CCPS food and nutrition service workers make sure students are fed during closure

March 17, 2020 - Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) food and nutrition workers are handing out free meals to students who stop by eight designated school sites around the county.

“Our kids need to eat,” said Ruby Smith, food service manager at St. Charles High School, one of the sites where people can drive up to pick up meals for children 18 and younger. Children have to be present in order to receive meals.

Starting Wednesday, between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., students can pick up three meals — lunch, dinner and breakfast for the following day.

Breakfast includes cereal, crackers, milk and juice. Lunch and dinner will likely be cold sandwiches, fresh fruit, fresh vegetables, milk and juice. A snack is also included. Starting on Wednesday, parents and guardians can pick up instruction packets to keep children connected to school and their minds engaged with grade-level educational activities. The materials are also available online at www.ccboe.com.

The meal program started earlier this week with breakfast and lunch being offered in the wake of Maryland public schools shutting down March 16 to 27. The program expanded after Gov. Larry Hogan on Monday ordered state restaurants, movie theaters and gyms to close in an effort to slow the spread of Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). 

Charles County meal sites include Henry E. Lackey, Maurice J. McDonough, St. Charles and Westlake high schools, Milton M. Somers Middle School and Indian Head, Mt. Hope/Nanjemoy and J.P. Ryon elementary school.

The sites are staffed by CCPS food and nutrition service (FNS) workers, many who messaged Crystal Richardson, supervisor of food service, pledging to help where they were needed. 

“They do it for the kids,” Richardson said of her staff. “They’re going to go wherever the kids need them.”

While the summer meal program has been in place for at least 15 years, this is the first time FNS workers have set up for an emergency closure like the one announced March 12 calling for public school systems around the state to be shuttered for two weeks.

“It’s summer in March,” said Frederick Bell, food service manager at Thomas Stone High School and veteran of the CCPS summer meals program. “When Crystal emailed me, I said, ‘I’m all in. If you’re doing it, I’m doing it.’”

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