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Georgia’s peanut farmers recognize the critical effort school nutrition partners made to feed the state’s most food-vulnerable students when COVID-19 caused a necessary closure of schools. Georgia Peanut Commission worked with the Georgia School Nutrition Association to seek entries from school districts highlighting their efforts in the areas of innovation, volume and community engagement. The winning districts are Coffee County School System, Glynn County School District, Houston County School System and Tift County Public Schools.
Coffee County School System: School/Community Engagement Award 2020 Pandemic Feeding Program
Coffee County’s school nutrition team formed a partnership with their full school system including teachers, para pros, custodians, administrative staff, maintenance and bus drivers to prepare and deliver nearly 570,000 meals to students homes along with educational work packets and even Chromebooks where needed. Smucker’s Uncrustables® Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwiches were a favorite in these meals. The Sheriff’s Department even got involved having deputies escort buses on their routes and making special deliveries when a student missed a bus delivery. The entry noted students were so excited to see their teachers, lunchroom staff and bus drivers – even if it was just to wave and shout hello out the windows – that it definitely brought a much-needed level of normalcy to a stressful time in everyone’s life.
Glynn County School District: Most Creative Award 2020 Pandemic Feeding Program
Houston County School System: Peanut Butter Usage Award 2020 Pandemic Feeding Program
Houston County’s school nutrition team left on a Friday not knowing that it was the end of the in-person school year. They immediately activated their Seamless Summer program, which provides seven days of meals per week to any child under the age of 18 at four drive-through locations. With changing requirements, the Houston County team has pivoted several times to continue serving nearly 1.5 million meals including thousands of cases of Smucker’s Uncrustables® Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwiches.
Tift County Public Schools: Peanut Butter Usage Award 2020 Pandemic Feeding Program
Tift County’s school nutrition team knew students would go hungry without access to school meals because of the percentage of students who participate in free and reduced-priced meal program. This was unacceptable to them, so they activated nine drive-through feeding sites as well as eight buses to deliver meals on the first day of the school closure. Directors and administrators spent time every day helping to load and deliver meals on the buses. Nearly 250,000 Smucker’s Uncrustables® Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwiches were served during that time.
Each winning district will receive a trophy, 123 cases of peanut butter to utilize in their feeding program and a Georgia Peanuts dish towel and spatula for each team member. Prize delivery is scheduled for the week of February 8-12.