Although there was no school on Monday, Itawamba County School District (ICSD) Food Service Director Kenny Coker and cafeteria managers from across the district met at IAC’s cafeteria to wrap biscuits and burgers for sack lunches for distribution to school-age children across the county.
“It’s going really well,” Coker said as he readied the brown paper bags of food to fill a dozen or so large coolers. These would later be picked up and carried to churches throughout the county.
By morning’s end, Coker and his small crew of workers had prepped 1,015 sack lunches. That’s enough food to feed roughly a third of the school district’s students, who haven’t been to class since March 6.
The decision to help feed Itawamba County schoolchildren during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic was solidified during an emergency meeting of the local school board on March 17. The board voted to both extend the closure of the district’s schools until March 17 (which was later extended to March 27 and then to April 17 following an executive order from Gov. Tate Reeves) and also provide sack lunches to children whose families may be struggling to feed their children during this crisis.
“It’s something we feel is needed and would be helpful to families during this time,” Itawamba County Superintendent of Education Trae Wiygul said as he discussed the matter during the board meeting.
After the unanimous vote in favor to do so, school administrators reached out to churches across the county for help in distributing the meals. The churches have set up stations at their facilities or, where necessary, are delivering to students who do not have means for pickup.
Coker said the meals are a combination of breakfast and lunch. Monday’s sacks included sausage biscuit, hamburger, chips, orange slices, rice crispy treats and milk.
Wiygul said the school district would like to continue to provide meals to local students throughout the COVID-19 outbreak.
Wiygul asked that parents and community members be as helpful as possible as they try to navigate the number of meals to prepare.
Questions concerning the pickup or delivery of the meals can be answered by calling the school the student attends. School offices are open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. daily.
Participating churches include:
- Bethel Baptist Church, 445 Bethel Church Road, Fulton (Dorsey Community))
- Pine Grove Church, 2219 Dorsey-Evergreen Road, Fulton (Evergreen Community)
- Carolina Church, 3384 Carolina Road, Nettleton (Carolina Community, Old Riley’s Store)
- Salem Baptist Church, 28909 Highway 25 North, Golden (Fairview Community)
- Trinity Baptist Church, 302 South Adams Street, Fulton
- Mt. Vernon Baptist Church, 5225 John Ranking Highway, Fulton (Ryans Well Community)
- First Baptist Church of Mantachie, 6080 Highway 363, Mantachie
- Ozark Baptist Church, 926 Ozark Baptist Church Road, Marietta
- Tremont First Baptist Church, 10050 Highway 178, Tremont
- East Fulton Baptist Church, 1200 East Main Street, Fulton
- Pine Grove Church of Christ, 216 North Johnson Road, Fulton (Tremont /Fairview area)
- Big Oak Baptist Church, 6870 Van Buren Road, Fulton
ICSD Business Administrator Jennifer Gray said additional churches would be added to the list as the information became available.