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CPS using bus routes to deliver free meals to students during pivot to home

CPS using bus routes to deliver free meals to students during pivot to home

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Collinsville schools (copy)

Collinsville Public Schools

Collinsville Public Schools is getting creative to help keep students fed during the pandemic.

The district pivoted to distance learning on Nov. 16 due to an increased number of COVID-19 cases, and plans to return to in-person instruction after Thanksgiving break.

As such, CPS’ child nutrition program is stepping up its efforts to bring healthy menu items to local families affected by the transition.

Michell Janah, director of child nutrition, recently partnered with John Gilmartin, director of transportation, to come up with a way to help students get their hands on free meals during the pivot-to-home period.

They got the idea to pack CPS’ school buses with hundreds of boxes of food, and use the district’s daily routes to deliver them to each neighborhood on the itinerary.

“The program has always been about … the best methods to feed our kids,” Janah said. “We realize it is a challenge to our families, and however we can ease up their life, we’re going to do it, that’s our goal.”

Gilmartin added, “There’s a lot of kids that depend on school lunches for their breakfast and lunch every day, and it’s just rewarding knowing that you’re helping meet a need that’s there.”

Thirteen buses transport around 1,000 meals for both elementary and secondary students every weekday. All routes run 9-10 a.m., with each stop lasting around five to 10 minutes to allow all students and families on site to receive a meal.

The district is continuing to offer its traditional pick-up service as normal, 9-10 a.m., at the front drive of Collinsville Upper Elementary and the bus loop at Collinsville Middle School.

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