Unsung heroes: Nutrition workers keeping SCS students, families fed during ongoing pandemic

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — COVID-19 has exposed a lot of issues, one being the hunger crisis in the Mid-South.

As many schools went virtual, school leaders were tasked with figuring out how to feed children.

When you think of the heroes of this pandemic, you normally think of doctors, nurses, teachers, and more.

With Shelby County Schools, the work of the nutrition team grew significantly, due to COVID-19.

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“We’re actually feeding the kids meals that they would receive if school was normal,” January Brooks tells FOX13.

Brooks is the nutrition service supervisor at Hamilton High School.

Many students rely on the two hot meals they get a day from schools.

With virtual learning, getting that food is harder.

Shelby County Schools has more than 90,000 students.

During covid-19, the nutrition team preps and pack meals not only for the students but their families as well.

“They come up here in tears, their lights are off and all of that. We’re actually doing a good deed by feeding them,” said Brooks.

The team preps and packs meals Monday through Wednesday and then distributes them to families on Thursday and Fridays.

Brooks tells FOX13 nutrition workers should also be in the hero category.

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“I know here at Hamilton High, we are heroes because we’re focusing on feeding families,” said Brooks.

James Bacchus, Hamilton High School principal, tells FOX13 the nutrition workers are a vital piece in a big puzzle.

“This piece is just as important as any piece as far as teaching and learning,” said Bacchus. “The building, the food, the teaching and learning. All of it connects together.”

Bacchus says if a child is concerned about where their next meal will come from, that takes away from focus on their studies.

“Once I’ve answered that need, now I can go to learn,” said Bacchus.

Every school in the SCS district prepares meals.

Parents don’t have to go to their child’s exact school, but they do have to make sure the child is registered as an SCS student. For more information on the SCS meal program and the application form, you can go here.