OAK BROOK, Ill., July 30, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Even though the true impact of the work of Chartwells K12's 16,000 school lunch heroes may not be quantifiable, one thing is: the team has now served more than 100 million meals to children during the COVID-19 pandemic. From bus route deliveries to theme days at meal pick-up sites and innovative partnerships, Chartwells has continued their commitment to ensure students across the country don't go hungry.
Within 36 hours of schools first shutting down, Chartwells worked with school districts nationwide to activate emergency feeding programs. Throughout the summer, teams are still serving food kids love to eat at more than 2,000 sites in 36 states. These activities are featured in this video: https://vimeo.com/443146051/f7e53534bd
"I don't think anyone could have dreamed this would be our reality when we first started school last year. While school meals look different right now, what hasn't changed is our priorities," said Belinda Oakley, CEO, Chartwells K12. "In everything we do, we remain focused on feeding kids and making sure they're happy and healthy, taking care of our people and supporting our communities."
For the past several months, Chartwells has been feeding students through their school district programs, but quickly expanded efforts to help reach even more children in need through initiatives that include:
Meals to You program: an innovative public-private partnership between USDA, the Baylor University Collaborative on Hunger and Poverty, McLane Global, and PepsiCo Food for Good. Chartwells is the only foodservice management company to participate in the program and has partnered with Canteen, the nation's largest vending company, to pack more than 1 million items each week into meal kits that are shipped to students' homes.
West Virginia: working with the West Virginia Department of Education and National Guard, Chartwells has been providing more than 500,000 meals per week to children across the state. With the flexibility to adapt operations and an incomparable supply chain, Chartwells was able to mobilize immediately to coordinate emergency feeding in 25 counties with meals distributed at pick-up sites and delivered locally via school buses directly to students' homes.
Send a Smile: Chartwells has also rallied children to write letters and draw pictures to isolated seniors at Morrison Living communities. By distributing "Send a Smile" packets at meal pick-up sites, kids returned their completed letters and pictures which were shared with seniors from coast to coast.
"We are so humbled by the opportunities we have to give so many families much needed confidence and reassurance that in this time of immense disruption, hunger is one thing they don't need to worry about," said Oakley.
When schools are closed, millions of children who rely on school nutrition programs could have been left without food. According to No Kid Hungry, 1 in 6 children in the United States live with hunger, and 6 in 7 hungry children don't get adequate meals when school isn't in session.
As thousands of schools around the country work to determine their back-to-school schedules for the fall, Chartwells has developed a "Ready to Reopen" guide to help inform the planning process. Featuring six new service models and enhanced safety procedures adaptable to many different scenarios, every option is designed to keep students healthy while keeping mealtime a bright spot in a student's day.
About Chartwells K12 Chartwells K12's goal is to make sure students leave the cafeteria happier and healthier than they came in, by serving food kids love to eat and creating custom dining programs. With more than 16,000 associates in 4,100 schools, ranging from large public institutions to small charter and private schools, Chartwells K12 is built on decades of food, education and operational experience driven by top culinary, nutrition, wellness, and sustainability talent. For more information, visit www.ChartwellsK12.com.