United Way helping schools continue free meals program after initial suspension

A plan to provide free meals for the students of St. Charles Parish schools was suspended last week after a district employee reported he or she had displayed COVID-19 symptoms, but it will be back on thanks to an agreement between the school system, United Way and Second Harvest.

United Way of St. Charles Executive Director John Dias said after meeting with St. Charles Parish Public Schools Superintendent Ken Oertling, a plan was worked out where United Way will direct additional funds to Second Harvest to facilitate mobile food deliveries for students in St. Charles Parish during the ongoing closure of Louisiana schools due to COVID-19.

“We felt like it would be a great way to respond and step up for the community,” Dias said. “Even if it’s a different method, it’s a way to help distribute food to our community’s students and make sure those kids still get meals.”

It’s a positive outcome after circumstances threatened to shelve the program before it truly got going. St. Charles’ public school district began a grab and go free meals program on Tuesday  that would provide free breakfast and lunch meals for students up to age 18. The measure was put into place to ensure food security for students during ongoing closure.

But a day later, the school district released a statement on social media that an employee reported to the district that he or she was under hospital quarantine after displaying symptoms of COVID-19.  While the employee was not involved in the distribution of meals on either of the two days the program was in place, the program was suspended “out of an abundance of caution.”

The district notified parents and employees at R.K. Smith Middle School and New Sarpy Elementary that the quarantined person did work at both schools.

 

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