USDA is collaborating with the Baylor Collaborative on Hunger and Poverty, McLane Global, PepsiCo, and others to deliver nearly 1,000,000 meals to students in a limited number of rural schools closed due to COVID-19.
USDA will utilize best practices learned through a summer pilot program in 2019 to deliver food boxes to children affected by school closures due to Covid-19 in rural America. Baylor will coordinate with the appropriate state officials to prioritize students who do not have access to a Summer Food Service Program site and have an active outbreak of Covid-19.
Initial capacity is limited, and additional vendors are requested and encouraged to ensure food can be provided to more rural children as additional schools close. Email FeedingKids@usda.gov for more information or to help.
“Right now, USDA and local providers are utilizing a range of innovative feeding programs to ensure children are practicing social distancing but are still receiving healthy and nutritious food," said Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue. "This whole of America approach to tackling the coronavirus leverages private sector ingenuity with the exact same federal financing as the Summer Food Service Program.”
“We know from first-hand experience that families with children who live in rural communities across the U.S. are often unable to access the existing food sites," said Jeremy Everett, Executive Director, Baylor University Collaborative on Hunger and Poverty. "Meal delivery is critical for children in rural America to have consistent access to food when school is out.”
“Given the rapid disruptions driven by Covid-19, we can work together to swiftly take this model nationwide,” said Denton McLane, Chairman, McLane Global.
“As schools around the country close, millions of schoolchildren now don’t know where their next meal is coming from. In the face of this unprecedented crisis, it’s critical that the private sector help ensure these students have access to nutritious meals,” said Jon Banner, Executive Vice President, PepsiCo Global Communications and President, PepsiCo Foundation. “PepsiCo is committing $1 million to help Baylor create a solution with USDA to identify children most in need and then we will help reach them with at least 200,000 meals per week—one way we are deploying our food and beverage resources to help those most vulnerable.”