NEWBURGH – The Newburgh Enlarged City School District’s Newburgh School Meals program served their 1 Million Meal throughout the pandemic. This outstanding accomplishment is impressive under normal circumstances, but this milestone is especially important during this unpredictable time. The Department of Food Services was able to pivot their entire operation in March 2020 to begin serving children through a drive-through distribution operation. The first meal distribution took place less than a week after all schools in Orange County pivoted to remote instruction in March 2020.
By the end of their weekly distribution on Wednesday, December 2nd, the Newburgh Schools Meals program had served 1,022,526 meals and 21,360 snacks. The snacks are the latest addition to the already robust program. The event distributed 13,950 pounds of apples (many locally grown in New Paltz and Marlboro), 4,650 pounds of carrots, and 3,983 gallons of milk in the meal kits. The meal kit menu changes from week to week, but similar items that create nutritious meal options for our scholars are available every week. Menu items as well as suggestions for pairing of those items can be found on the Newburgh School Meals Facebook page (Facebook.com/NewburghSchoolMeals).
Distributions occur every Wednesday at six locations throughout the three municipalities that encompass the NECSD (the Towns of Newburgh and New Windsor, and the City of Newburgh). Meal kits are available for any child 18 and under. Families can pick up meal kits from the location most convenient for them, the child or children do not need to attend school at a specific site.
The NECSD Food Services Department has been serving seven days worth of breakfast and lunch to any child 18 years and under on a weekly basis since June. From March to June, the distributions occurred daily. In addition to the drive through pick-up option, the Food Services Department was also providing breakfast and lunch to scholars who were receiving in-person learning throughout the fall semester and will continue to do so when in-person learning resumes in January.
“Our entire district has reacted quickly to serve and support our scholars and their families. The Food Services Department did not skip a beat to continue to offer nutritious meals to our scholars to support their learning and provide a sense of familiarity and normalcy during this unique time. I am proud and humbled to partner with so many individuals who have shown their unwavering commitment to our scholars and our community.” Dr. Roberto Padilla, Superintendent for the Newburgh Enlarged City School District
“Our food service heroes, in collaboration with district security and buildings and grounds crews, have gone above and beyond to make sure that our students have the nutritious meals they need to learn and grow, even when school is 100% remote. I am forever grateful for our dedicated team members that have had to learn and adapt to an entirely new way of serving meals. The work has been difficult, but every week they are there to greet our families with big (masked) smiles and a sense of pride that can be felt by every individual they serve.” Mrs. Caitlin Lazarski, Director of School Nutrition for NECSD
NECSD was recently awarded $50,000 in grant funding from No Kid Hungry to support the drive-through meal program. This funding will provide additional supplies to pack and transport meals as well as safety equipment to keep our meal heroes healthy and warm during the winter months. The Board of Education will vote to accept the funds at an upcoming meeting.
No Kid Hungry supports districts across the country in their efforts to ensure that no child goes to bed hungry. We are forever grateful for the work of this amazing organization.
Last year, the Breakfast program provided by Newburgh School Meals ranked third in a national survey for the third straight year.