Richmond County seeing demand for bus-delivered meals

Monday, March 23, 2020

(Source: WRDW)

AUGUSTA (WRDW/WAGT) — Since starting a meal service program, leaders at the Richmond County School System realized they could serve thousands more families by adding bus delivery, just as Aiken and Burke counties have done.

A group of employees and volunteers prepare the meals and get them ready to go onto the buses, then they’re delivered to families who need them the most.

On day one of the remote meal service, the school system prepared 15,000 meals. Fewer than 5,000 were served.

“I wouldn’t say disappointing,” said Dana Bing, assistant director of nutrition services. “If we’re feeding one student, that is definitely something that we can be proud of.”

But with 97% of the county’s children relying on free and reduced-priced lunches, the district knew it could do better.

“It was down to supply and demand,” Bing said. “Basically, we had a large demand when it came to communities specifically would reach out to us and describe their inability to make it to distribution sites.”

The district added 10 bus routes around the county, in addition to the 20 meal drive-through locations.

“You could have various areas that could be considered food desert zones,” Bing said. “We’re allowing them now, through these community bus routes, to actually receive meals. It is a wonderful thing.”

And the numbers show improvements.

Since starting community bus routes — the county delivered double the amount of meals than when they first started.

More than 9,000 on Friday, to be exact.

“We will keep this going as long as it takes, as long as we need it,” Bing said. “That is what we’re here for.”

And for those who can’t make it to drive-through sites — and the bus doesn’t deliver in their area — there’s a third option.

“Thirty or so small businesses and organizations that are doing home deliveries if individuals are able to go on our website, rcboe.org/coronavirus, they can receive all of the information necessary.”

All families need to do is pick up the phone and call.

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