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JC Schools, First Student partner to provide more meals to students

by Layne Stracener | April 1, 2020 at 10:40 p.m. | Updated April 2, 2020 at 11:20 a.m.
Pat Davenport, a cook at Thorpe Gordon Elementary School, prepares sandwiches that will be handed to parents picking them up for students March 18, 2020.

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The Jefferson City School District has expanded its grab-and-go meal locations to include 41 bus stops during the school closure.

Beginning Thursday, bus drivers will deliver breakfast and lunch grab-and-go bags to students from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The bus stops are designated to include as many high-need areas as possible, Director of School Nutrition Dana Doerhoff said. JC Schools officials are asking families to practice social distancing at the bus stops.

The bus routes and menu are listed on the JC Schools website,, under "COVID-19 Updates." The menu will be the same for grab-and-go and bus stop meals.

Examples of bus stops include Callaway Hills Elementary, Union Hill Baptist Church parking lot, Calvary Assembly of God parking lot, Washington Park parking lot, Osage City parking lot, the Fairgrounds main gate, the Hawthorn Apartments main entrance and the St. Martins Caholic School parking lot.

After surveying families to determine who needed access to meals over the closure, Doerhoff said, they did not feel as if they were meeting the needs of the students who need food the most.

"We thought this would be a great way to get food to more people that need it while allowing us to partner with First Student," Doerhoff said.

All kitchen staff - more than 100 employees - are on a rotating schedule to prepare meals for students, and some employees have volunteered to work every day.

The employees are practicing social distancing and are required to wear gloves, Doerhoff said. They are instructed to wash hands and change gloves often.

Doerhoff said there has been a steady increase in the number of students they are serving grab-and-go meals to daily. They served 904 students Wednesday.

She said the biggest challenge has been knowing how many meals to prepare.

"The food service and building staff have been remarkably generous with their time and efforts to help make this work," she said.

Grab-and-go meals are still available for curbside pickup from 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. at the following locations: East Elementary, North Elementary, Pioneer Trail Elementary, South Elementary, Thorpe Gordon Elementary, West Elementary, Lewis and Clark Middle School, and Thomas Jefferson Middle School.

"We are keenly aware that this extended closure will continue to have a significant impact on our families, and we are so thankful to be able to provide meals to our students and families who can use the extra support," said JC Schools Communications Director Ryan Burns.


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