‘An honor and privilege to step up’: Community, school staff aid MMSD food distribution efforts

Scott Girard:

In the first nine days since schools closed for the COVID-19 pandemic, the Madison Metropolitan School District has given out 15,500 meals to students.

The Monday through Friday distribution of breakfast and lunch at 12 sites has been “running without a hitch,” MMSD spokesperson Tim LeMonds wrote in an email Thursday.

And it’s being helped by community efforts that are delivering some of the meals to families and others offering additional food to cover snacks, dinner and weekends.

A partnership between Thoreau Elementary School and Cherokee Middle School has delivered meals to 275 families — all of them from food collected through the Second Harvest and River food pantries. It will soon expand to serve between 400 and 500 families, all in the elementary schools that feed Cherokee plus West High School.

Cherokee social worker Abby Ray said the effort has “come a long way” from the first day of the closures, March 16, when they were just delivering to families they knew were in need. Schools are closed until at least April 24 by order of Gov. Tony Evers.

“A lot of it shows the relationships that families have with schools already,” Ray said. “The school is so much more than a place for kids to get learning and so many other needs are met through education in schools.”