PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Getting food to children who need it most during the coronavirus pandemic is a challenge schools have faced since students began learning at home. The School District of Philadelphia is making sure lunches are getting to its students who need them most.

Sorting and bagging for hours, these food service employees have a seamless system.

“We value our teams in every location because, without them, we wouldn’t be able to do this,” Training Manager Jarred Lee said.

Each station is sanitized and manned by one individual to ensure proper etiquette and safe social distancing.

“Each station has gloves, masks, disinfectant wipes,” Lee said. “We wipe down the stations, set everything up.”

Coronavirus Latest: What You Need To Know And Staying Connected

Since Philadelphia’s meal distributing program started in mid-March, the school district has provided more than a half-million meals to students.

There are 49 other locations across the city like this one with school district employees and volunteers loading up breakfast and lunch for students that need it.

“After every service, we step back to see what worked, what didn’t work, what do we need to change,” Lee said.

On Monday, about 1,000 students were served, compared to several dozen in its first week.

Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, the USDA began issuing waivers in order to make it easier for states to serve children and as needs are established, the Financial Management Services Division is working to get them out.


That’s great news for these employees who look forward to providing nutritious meals in the high-need area they serve.

“Already forging relationships with some of the children that come here, although they don’t know them from anywhere else but here,” Lee said.

For next week, due to the holiday, Mayor Jim Kenney says food will be distributed on Tuesday instead of Monday.