Community effort restarts food distribution program for Shelby County Schools children

YMCA and City of Memphis offer free lunches for SCS students

SHELBY COUNTY, Tenn. (WMC) - On Friday, Shelby County Schools announced they would be suspending their free lunch program because a food service employee tested positive for the COVID-19. But thanks to an incredible community effort, a new lunch program started Monday morning.

SCS nutrition employee tests positive for COVID-19

Shelby County School Superintendent Joris Ray put out a call to action on Friday, asking for help feeding children in our area after the lunch program was shut down.

SCS says they are blown away with the response. Over the weekend, the YMCA and City of Memphis partnered with SCS to keep the lunch program going.

Monday, smiling kids received both a nutritious meal and some learning packets to keep their mind active during this extended break from school. The packets won’t be graded, but hopefully will help keep student’s minds stimulated.

Putting together this new lunch program was no easy task and organizers say the incredibly hard work from multiple members of the community shows what Memphis is all about.

“Essentially if you were going to be doing this for a normal summer feeding program, it would be six to eight weeks of planning and logistics and all that stuff,” Nick Walker, Interim Director of Parks and Neighborhoods for the City of Memphis said. “We crammed that into three days. So the fact that this happened is amazing.”

“This collaborative partnership, this is Memphis,” Brian McLaughlin, YMCA Chief Operating Officer said. “When something’s needed we all come together but we’re stronger and better together.”

Mid-South Food Bank stepping up after SCS suspends meal distribution for students

“All of our teams are just so grateful that they were able to act with such urgency,” said Jerica Phillips, Shelby County Schools spokesperson. “Our community campaign with Shelby a County Schools is we are 901 and this has just been a true testament to how our community is resilient and has stepped in to serve our students and families.”

Durham School Services is also helping families of special needs students by delivering learning packets directly to them if they would like one.

This new school lunch program will be run with this new partnership for the foreseeable future.

If you want to receive a free lunch, a child has to be the one to pick it up. There are 63 sites open from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. To find all 63 site locations, click here:

Copyright 2020 WMC. All rights reserved.