In the Hardin County School Districts, meals have continued to be dispersed from last school semester into the summer meal programs.
Similar to the program instituted in March after the closing of schools because of COVID-19, meals are given to anyone 18-years-old or younger.
Hardin County Schools currently has three pickup sites: North Hardin, Central Hardin and John Hardin high schools. Buses also drive around the county to deliver meals at 10 separate stops, including three that have been added over the past few months.
Starting Wednesday, Hardin County Schools Child Nutrition Director Josey Crew said a fourth pickup location will be added at West Point School.
“We wanted to make sure, and have a spot in that community where we continue to serve meals for the summer,” Crew said.
Elizabethtown Independent Schools has one pick-up location at the T.K. Stone/Morningside cafeteria and 12 bus sites in town.
EIS first implemented buses in March and have continued to be used into the summer.
“We were really excited to have our buses help out this year,” said Marty Adams, nutrition services director.
Crew said there has been a considerable increase in the amount of children and families coming to get meals. She said there’s been at least a 20 percent increase in meals served.
In one example, Crew said Central Hardin normally serves 150 meals a day during the summer. It now daily serves 250 to 300 meals.
“From year to year, I think we have several out there that just don’t know about the Summer Feeding Program,” Crew said.
Last summer, Crew said they made about 25,000 meals. In May of this summer, she said the district has made 50,000 breakfast and 55,000 lunch meals.
Adams said last year, they were making maybe 500 to 800 meals a day, and are now doing more than 1,200.
However, Adams said they have seen decreases in certain areas including camps, day cares and parks, since meals would be taken to those locations during the summer, but are currently closed because of COVID-19.
Crew said despite the increase in meals, the staff for the summer is slim, and has been “working very hard to keep up the increase.”
“Sometimes we don’t have all those hands that we need but we make it work,” Crew said.
Rhonda Fleming, kitchen manager at North Hardin High School, said the school has seen increases in meals.
One of the bus locations in northern Hardin County is at the Dollar General in Rineyville. Fleming said this location has seen a significant increase in meals given out at around 60 to 70 with one day doing around 90.
Each bus location has about 20 minutes to disperse meals.
Fleming said 330 to 360 meals are given out per week day at North Hardin — although about 450 meals are made all together. Last summer, she said they’d make anywhere between 175 to 190 meals weekly.
“It’s been going extremely, extremely well,” Fleming said. “We do feed a lot more now than we did last summer.”
Karen Keith, cafeteria manager at T.K. Stone/Morningside, said they have been busier this summer and can tell the word has spread.
On Thursday, Keith said they were preparing at least 1,300 meals.
Keith said the buses have helped to branch out to more families and create more relationships.
“I think we’re reaching out more to the community by having those mobile sites that we didn’t have before,” Keith said.
She said she thinks they’ll be using buses from now on.
“We’re looking forward hopefully to see the kiddos in the cafeteria when school starts. We miss their faces. We just don’t know what it’s gonna look like yet,” Adams said.
The Summer Food Service Program is a federally funded, state-administered program where children 18-years-old or younger can get a free meal. Adults can purchase a meal for $3.