Dear Editor,

When COVID-19 forced the school system to close down, Manney Moore, Director of Schools, and Casey Kelley, Assistant Director said “during this we will see who is in the kid business. The people in the kid business will do whatever it takes to get the job done for the county’s children.”

We as a School Nutrition staff were overwhelmed by all of the principals, nurses, teachers, Save the Children workers, and various other staff members that showed up saying “what can I do to help the children get food?”

When meals were picked up it provided some normalcy for children. Students were able to see various school personnel and interact with them even if only briefly. We think it made a big difference in their day.

I want to say thank you to everyone that helped get the word out as we provided meals to children throughout the summer.

We greatly appreciated all of the parents and grandparents who came to pick up meals. Some came on their lunch break from work and some even went to other schools, after we ran out of food at one school, to pick up meals just to help us out.

With everyone’s team efforts and assistance we were able to provide over 500,000 meals, including breakfast and lunch, for children 18 and under from March-July.

The Central Office staff was with us every step of the way. They provided us with help, support and guidance each day. Various members of the central office offered to “put on scrubs” and go to work if we needed them to cook or hand out meals.

I want to say thank you as well to all of the cafeteria managers. I want to thank them for being hands-on throughout every last minute meeting and adjusting to all the changes. Thank you to the cafeteria workers for being essential workers and making sure their community received meals for their children during this tough time.

Many of these same managers and cafeteria works are putting in long hours as we continue to provide take home meals to students in the new school year.

A big thank you to Christina Lease at NGS and her staff and volunteers for doing almost 50,000 meals during the school closure from March to May, which allowed children from the county and city to get a hot meal 5 days a week.

I am not sure my friend Christina got home before dark on many days during that time.

I also want to thank The Newport Plain Talk as well as WNPC and WLIK for helping us put the word out about our food distributions.

Everyone in this county has really stepped up during a difficult time. Thank you to everyone for supporting Cocke County School Nutrition as we serve our Children.

Sincerely,

Rebekah Fisher

County Schools Food Service/Nutrition Director

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