The Good Kitchen, a Charlotte-based food service, is donating more than 25,000 kids’ meals to Burke County Public Schools. The school system will being issuing the meals Friday as part of its food distribution program taking place while schools are closed due to the coronavirus (COVID-19).
The truck carrying the 25,000-plus meals arrived in Burke County today. The meals are being handed out on Friday at the eight school food distribution sites and many of the school system’s bus stop locations.
BCPS Child Nutrition Director Daniel Wall explained that on Friday, students will receive six meals total - three breakfasts and three lunches - for Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The school sites will not be open this weekend for meal pick up.
The donation came about as a result of a partnership between The Good Kitchen and American Food Service, based in Morganton and owned and operated by Charlie and Chasity Rice.
American Food Service produces and packages meals for adults for The Good Kitchen, and the Rices are familiar with The Good Kitchen’s line of healthy, organic meals for children, both of which are sold in Walmart stores.
Chasity Rice said when she heard The Good Kitchen was looking to donate meals to students while they are out of school, she jumped at the chance to get the meals headed to Burke County.
She and Wall have been working on the logistics of getting the meals shipped here and into the hands of children. Kellex, Global Transportation Services and Tarheel Logistics Services, a licensed freight shipping company, have all assisted in the shipment of the meals.
“We are very grateful for this donation from The Good Kitchen and for the Rice’s and their work in getting it here,” Wall said. “Not only does this get good, healthy meals to kids who need it, but it also gives our amazing child nutrition staff a chance to pause.
"They have been working non-stop over the last two weeks planning, preparing and distributing thousands of meals to our students," Wall said. "Having the weekend off will give them a chance to recharge and reset and get ready to pick back up on Monday.”
“This is another great example of our community coming together to meet basic needs in times of a crisis,” Burke County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Larry Putnam said. “I am thankful for the connections, partnerships and friendships that make donations such as this possible. I have known the Rices for years. The fact that the Rices had this connection with The Good Kitchen, a passion for this community and our students and the heart to bring those connections together means young children and their families have a few less meals to worry about this weekend.”
Chasity Rice said she is happy to be able to bring these forces together to help children and families in Burke County.
“We saw this as an opportunity to be able to connect The Good Kitchen with Burke County Public Schools and bring these meals here in these uncharted times,” she said. “I am proud of the school system and Dr. Putnam’s leadership and all of the employees and volunteers who have stepped up to help during this time. The teachers are checking in on the kids, and the district is organizing food distribution and offering childcare. I can’t applaud them enough for taking care of our kids. I am happy to be able to connect these dots. Isn’t that what we are supposed to do -- to help each other?”
“We are incredibly grateful to be in a position to donate meals during this unprecedented pandemic," said Amber Lewis, founder of The Good Kitchen. "We are so thankful for Burke County Public Schools and their ability to execute the distribution of these meals in our home state. So many people are flocking to the grocery store and cooking at home, but those in food insecure areas do not have this luxury. Being able to provide a meal that is healthy and well balanced to children is more important than ever.”
The meals, which retail for $4.95, come frozen and with instruction on heating them. They can be kept frozen for a year or refrigerated for seven days. They include a protein (such as meatballs or chicken nuggets), a vegetable and a brownie.
Chasity Rice said she has tried all of the meals and likes them. She has a tip for heating the meals.
“Take the brownie out before heating so it doesn’t burn,” she said.
For an updated list of Burke County Public Schools' food distribution program's bus routes, visit this https://bit.ly/2UCTYrv.