• March 24, 2021

    One year ago this week, our TCSS Child Nutrition Program embarked on an endeavor to continue feeding students, while we experienced a temporary closure of our schools, in the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. What we didn't know at the time was that this temporary closure was actually the end of in-person instruction, for the 2019-2020 school year. Our Child Nutrition Team didn't miss a beat, continuing to feed children through the end of the school year and then through the summer. Once this school year began, the team shifted gears again, and began serving both on-campus learners and remote learners. They also implemented a community supper meals program. All of this has added up to more than 2.8 million meals served by our Child Nutrition Team, over the past year! TCSS CNP Team, thank you for the important service you always provide to our students and families, especially during the challenges of the past year. You are difference-makers!

    In the post below, TCSS Child Nutrition Director Donette Worthy shares her memories of the past year, and much more in-depth information about the work her team has done.

    One year ago today, our team set off on an adventure. It wasn’t your normal, every day adventure. It was a once in a lifetime (we all hope) kind of adventure. It was an adventure full of stress, high emotions, unknown answers, love, caring and dedication.  
    On March 23, 2020 the TCSS Child Nutrition Program stepped up to the plate to feed our children in the beginning stages of a worldwide pandemic. The type of pandemic that hasn’t been seen in over one-hundred years. Children were taken out of schools, families were told to stay home and stay away from others, the world was turned upside down & the world just stopped. Our world stopped like nothing we have ever seen before. Even though the world had stopped, there was still one thing that kept going no matter what. Childhood Hunger. Our team knows of childhood hunger far too well. We knew that it wouldn’t let up even in the middle of a pandemic. We knew that 1 in every 4 children would still go to bed hungry at night. We knew that it could actually get worse. We knew this reality. We had seen this reality. And we refused to allow this reality to hurt our children during a very hectic and crazy time that was already affecting their lives. Hunger wouldn’t stop due to a virus. It would actually get worse. So, we knew that we had to step up. No matter what that meant. We had to take action. We had to take care of our children.  
    Luckily, the week before was our Spring Break. Our team jumped into action developing a plan from scratch. We worked long 16-hour days and had many sleepless nights while trying to figure out the best approach to solve this problem. We rented 26-foot U-Haul trucks, moved hundreds of pounds of food and made decisions on the fly in order to get prepared to serve our children. We were flying a plane while actively building it. The exhaustion was real. The high emotions were real. The stress level was out of the roof. But the love for our children was far greater than anything a virus could throw at us.  
    When the first day of feeding arrived, our team was as prepared as we could be. The lines were long, the children were smiling and the day was a success. We had magnificently fed hundreds of children our first day feeding. By the end of the shut-down feeding, we were feeling on top of the world. We had accomplished our goal of feeding our children while schools were shut down. We were able to do this safely and effectively through hard work and dedication. We even had fun with our children during pick up times with dress up days. However, this is not where our story ends.  
    Another adventure was right around the corner. Our team had to figure out how to safely feed our children in-person, 5 days a week as well as our remote learners who were at home. So, our team set off to find the solutions to questions that had never been asked before. We still couldn’t find the “How-to” book that would have all the answers so we relied on our own knowledge to find the best solutions. Our team assembled and went through every possible scenario and found the solutions. Just when we thought we had it all figured out, other predicaments would creep up. We would then go back to the drawing board to find even more solutions. The exhaustion set back in. The emotions were getting high. The stress was there. But our team pulled together and found the solutions we had been looking for. There was no room for “I don’t know” or “It can’t be done”. There was no choice. There were no excuses. We had to make it happen. We had to do it for our children. And in the end, we did just that. We successfully fed our 5 day a week traditional learners, our remote students, held a community supper feeding program as well as an after-school snack. It wasn’t easy, it wasn’t accomplished without facing hiccups along the way and it sure wasn’t always pretty. But our team made it work. Our team persevered through the hard times and never gave up. Our team put our children first. Our team gave the children an essential necessity to help them be successful in school.
    Congratulations to the TCSS Child Nutrition team! Y’all are ROCK STARS through and through. Thank you will never be enough for all of your hard work and dedication however it is a good start. You have successfully served over 2,800,000 meals since the beginning of our pandemic feeding. From the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU. Our team wouldn’t have been successful without each of you and yes, that includes our subs.  
    Now, we have a 12-hour celebration window and then back to the grind. We have kiddos to feed tomorrow.
    -Donette Worthy, TCSS Child Nutrition Director