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District ramps up food delivery to students distance learning from home

On Tuesday, 14 buses rolled out of parking lots at two Vicksburg Warren School District schools.

The buses were delivering meals to students in the district who, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, have chosen distance learning.

“Eight buses left out of Sherman Avenue and each bus was loaded with a hundred meals, and Dana Road had six buses with about 150 meals on each bus,” the district’s child nutrition director Laura Bounds said.

The meals, which are part of the National School Lunch and Breakfast Program, are being delivered to established bus routes Monday through Friday to students at no cost, Bounds said.

And these meals may be picked up at the enrolled student’s closest bus stop between 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.

Bounds said there have been some “challenges” in organizing the packaged meals, which include a breakfast and lunch, but fortunately she has had a strong team to fulfill the needs of the students.

“I am very proud, especially of the ladies who have worked with me since March,” Bounds said. “Our passion is to feed our babies whether they are pre-K or seniors in high school, and we just want to take care of our children in the VWSD and make sure they receive a well-balanced breakfast and lunch.”

This is nothing new for this team. Between March and July, when in-person schooling was suspended, the district not only fed its students, but expanded its services to all children in the county, delivering more than 700,000 meals. 

“We got about a two-week break and then we were back in the swing of things to get the startup of school,” Bounds said.

In preparing the meals, the staff works to make sure it has as accurate a list as possible in order to create enough meals and cut down on any waste.

“We are trying to guage it (number of meals prepared), because we don’t want to put too much food on the bus and be wasteful,” Bounds said. However, extra meals are prepared for delivery.

“If a VWSD child shows up at the bus — but not yet signed up for meals — we are going to feed them as well,” Bounds said.

She also said the meals being delivered to children distance learning may vary, simply because of the types of meals that can be prepared, packaged and delivered.

“There is only so much you can sustain with the meals on the bus, so when it comes to holding temperatures, whether it be cold or hot, that plays a factor in what menu items go out on the bus versus what is being fed in-house,” she said. “But I tried not to vary too much from that because I wanted to try and be as consistent across the board for all of our students.”

The district is continuing to make sure buses stop at locations that will allow for all students in the district to receive meals.

“It is important students have nutritious meals every day so they can grow and learn. Hungry kids cannot learn,” Bounds said. “And with well over half of our families choosing distance learning, we know the right thing to do is to deliver meals to them.”

Bounds encouraged the public to thank all those who are making meal deliveries possible.

“If you see any of those amazing cafe workers or bus drivers, y’all please give them a big thumbs up, and tell them they are superheroes, because in my book they are,” Bounds said. “I am very proud of all of them.”

A list of bus stops can be found at www.vwsd.org/transportation. If you have children doing distance learning through the district and have not yet signed up, you can do so by visiting the district’s website at www.vwsd.org.

A child must be present and verified as an enrolled VWSD student before receiving meals. 

About Terri Cowart Frazier

Terri Frazier was born in Cleveland. Shortly afterward, the family moved to Vicksburg. She is a part-time reporter at The Vicksburg Post and is the editor of the Vicksburg Living Magazine, which has been awarded First Place by the Mississippi Press Association. She has also been the recipient of a First Place award in the MPA’s Better Newspaper Contest’s editorial division for the “Best Feature Story.”

Terri graduated from Warren Central High School and Mississippi State University where she received a bachelor’s degree in communications with an emphasis in public relations.

Prior to coming to work at The Post a little more than 10 years ago, she did some freelancing at the Jackson Free Press. But for most of her life, she enjoyed being a full-time stay at home mom.

Terri is a member of the Crawford Street United Methodist Church. She is a lifetime member of the Vicksburg Junior Auxiliary and is a past member of the Sampler Antique Club and Town and Country Garden Club. She is married to Dr. Walter Frazier.

“From staying informed with local governmental issues to hearing the stories of its people, a hometown newspaper is vital to a community. I have felt privileged to be part of a dedicated team at The Post throughout my tenure and hope that with theirs and with local support, I will be able to continue to grow and hone in on my skills as I help share the stories in Vicksburg. When asked what I like most about my job, my answer is always ‘the people.’

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