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RSS needs 25,000 bags a day for meals delivered

SALISBURY — Rowan-Salisbury Schools is delivering about 25,000 meals a day during school closure at no cost to students, but that number has created one logistical challenge for the district: bags.

Every single meal, the breakfast and lunch delivered at the same time, has to be in a bag

“We have to get it to where we can easily get it to the child,” said RSS Nutrition Director Lisa Altmann.

RSS went through its supplies from U.S. Foods already and the major distributer is restocking. Altmann said every district in the country has created some kind of model to deliver at least two meals at a time. When bags were running out, Altmann made a point of securing more from the community.

The district has been able to use a lot of food it has in inventory because it already delivers meals as part of its summer feeding program. It also has enough food in inventory to keep going without an issue.

Altmann said the district has the emergency ability to pay for bags from local businesses, but some have donated supplies anyway.

“We immediately got people who were willing to help because it is all about the kids,” Altmann said.

More supplies are coming in this week, but the district needed to gather what it could to get through Tuesday. She has found community members who want to volunteer and help provide supplies, even though many businesses are closed or cutting back because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

School Nutrition Supervisor Janice Peacock said the district normally distributes 8,500 to 9,000 breakfasts and lunches a week during its summer feeding program.

“So for us to be feeding 12,500 a day is a little crazy for us, but it’s happening; it’s getting done,” Peacock said.

She said the district has not “worn out its welcome” with businesses that have supplied bags and are still open. The district has received bags from Food Lion, Walmart and smaller businesses at well. The Salisbury Post supplied some newspaper bags to put meals in on Friday.

The idea to use newspaper bags came from School Resource Officer Charlie Ashby.

“We are going strong,” Altmann said. “We care about our community kids and are working as hard as we can to take care of them. The people on the front lines are doing an amazing job.”

Those on the front lines include nutrition workers and bus drivers, who are getting food to students and families, and loading and unloading supplies during the pandemic.

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