The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), PepsiCo, food logistics company McLane Global, and the Baylor University Collaborative on Hunger and Poverty are teaming up to provide nearly a million meals a week for students in rural schools closed due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
“USDA is working with private sector partners to deliver boxes of food to children in rural America who are affected by school closures,” said USDA Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. “Right now, USDA and local providers are utilizing a range of innovative feeding programs to ensure children are practicing social distancing but are still receiving healthy and nutritious food.”
“Meal delivery is critical for children in rural America to have consistent access to food when school is out. This is one way we, as citizens of this great nation, can respond to our neighbors in need,” said Jeremy Everett, executive director, Baylor University Collaborative on Hunger and Poverty.
The meal delivery plan for students affected by COVID-19 school closures is modeled on a summer home meal delivery program piloted in 2019, said Denton McLane, chairman, McLane Global. “Given the rapid disruptions driven by COVID-19, we can work together to swiftly take this model nationwide.”
“As schools around the country close, millions of school children now don’t know where their next meal is coming from. In the face of this unprecedented crisis, it’s critical that the private sector help ensure these students have access to nutritious meals,” said Jon Banner, executive vice president, PepsiCo Global Communications and president, PepsiCo Foundation. “PepsiCo is committing $1 million to help Baylor create a solution with USDA to identify children most in need, and then we will help reach them with at least 200,000 meals per week—one way we are deploying our food and beverage resources to help those most vulnerable.”