Food service workers and district administrators, teachers and staff members came together Monday morning to roll out a free meal service for Sedalia 200 students to ensure children don’t go hungry during school closures taken as a precaution against spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

Monday’s bagged breakfast and lunch items included cereal, a fruit cup, juice, an apple, baby carrots, a burrito, a cheese stick and a Rice Krispy Treat. Later this week, a dinner offering provided by Heartland Redistribution Solutions and Support will be included.

Meals are delivered weekdays by First Student buses at regular bus stops on the two-hour delayed start schedule. Meals also can be picked up between 9:30 and 10:30 a.m. at elementary schools, Sedalia Middle School and Smith-Cotton Junior High. Any child who is at a bus stop or who comes to one of the schools will be given a meal bag; they do not have to be accompanied by an adult.

Jason Curry, principal at Smith-Cotton Junior High, is one of the administrators who helped plan the meal delivery program.

“Knowing that there is a portion of our students who rely on meals at school, we needed to ensure they are getting the nutrition they need each day,” he said.

The food service team packed 6,800 meals, 3.400 each of breakfast and lunch, for Monday’s deliveries. Some of the meals were unclaimed from the deliveries; Curry expressed optimism that more families will take advantage of the service as he praised the teams who packaged and delivered food.

“Today went very smoothly considering it was the first morning. All of our volunteers showed up and the food service ladies did a tremendous job getting everything packaged,” he said. “Everything was ready to go on time."

Rowena Nickell, who oversees Sedalia 200’s food service, praised her team for their dedication to the community’s children.

“They’re wonderful,” she said of the food service workers. “I have always said I have the best crew ever. We are doing what is right – feeding the kids.”

Kathy Burnett, a behavior interventionist at Heber Hunt Elementary School, volunteered to hand out meals from one of the buses. She said it is an important way to maintain contact with students.

“Kids have always been my mission and that is where I am feeling led to go,” she said. “I feel like I’m doing my job as a Christian and as a teacher to go out and be with these kids.”

Deliveries1: Sedalia 200 food service workers, from left, Debbie Petree, Terri Ballard and Renee Shepard ensure meal bags are properly filled Monday morning in the FEMA building at Smith-Cotton Junior High School. The food service team prepared 6,800 meals, 3,400 each of breakfast and lunch, for Monday’s free meal service for district students.

Deliveries2: Sedalia 200 Superintendent Steve Triplett loads a tray of meal bags onto a First Student bus outside Smith-Cotton Junior High.

Sedalia School District 200