Source: WUNC

Thousands of students across North Carolina rely on meals they eat at school for their daily food. With schools closed during the coronavirus pandemic, local districts are moving toward a food delivery service: school buses. According to WUNC, Stanly County has an outsized number of rural students who rely on school meals. Eight schools there qualify for federally-funded free food programs because of the poverty level.

“We devised a plan to run all of our county bus routes out of those eight area eligible sites,” Mandy Melton told WUNC. Melton is the nutrition director for Stanly County Schools. “It was very important to serve out of those sites so that every meal we served was at no cost.”

Many employees across the county volunteered their time to help with the distribution. 

Melton says the community has responded with “overwhelming encouragement.” 

The plan also helps keep hourly workers paid who are otherwise in limbo while schools remain closed. The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction has told school districts that employees will continue to be paid as long as they have to work.

Governor Cooper ordered public schools closed for at least two weeks, set to end at the end of March. In a recent press conference, Cooper suggested that closures will likely continue into the foreseeable future. 

Read the full story on Stanly County’s efforts to continue food delivery to students at WUNC.