In the rain, sleet and sunshine, the Mansfield ISD Student Nutrition Services (SNS) could be counted on to provide free meals to the community.
The free curbside meal service began in March 2020 during the onset of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Despite operations transitioning to a virtual setting at the time, the student nutrition workers still ensured that kids had healthy meals every day.
“You get to know these families,” said Tammy Baggett, student nutrition supervisor. “You deal with them on an everyday basis when they come through. The kids roll their windows down, they talk to you, they smile, they wave. It’s very heartwarming.”
As students transitioned back into the buildings last fall, SNS provided free meals to all in-person learners and still served free meals in a drive-thru fashion for families who opted for online learning.
The free meals didn’t stop in the summer. From June 4 through July 30, all kids up to age 18 and adults with special needs up to age 21 can receive free meal bundles from 9:30 to 11 a.m. on Tuesdays and Fridays.
Three breakfast meals and three lunch meals are provided on those days.
“This has been a great experience,” said Tiffany Campbell, an MISD bus driver who worked with Student Nutrition Services during the summer. “There are so many details that the cafeteria staff does to service our students. I think it’s very good for the community.”
So far, the nutrition crew has served more than 1 million free meals to families.
That number will continue to increase because free meals will also be provided for all MISD students for the 2021-22 school year. Learners at all Mansfield ISD campuses will be able to access their free meals in the cafeteria serving lines as usual during their designated meal periods.
“It is our passion. We love it. We love supporting the community,” said Baggett. “We love interacting with the children and parents. It’s just an awesome program.”
Although meal services will be free for students next year, families that might qualify for the Free and Reduced Price School Meals program are still encouraged to submit an application for the 2021-22 school year. Approved applications provide valuable benefits and services to children.