SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — School meals are the main source of nutrition for millions of students in Georgia, where one in six children struggle with hunger. Now, one program is working to keep children in Georgia fed through the coronavirus pandemic.
With the unemployment rate topping over 11 percent and millions of students displaced from school as a result of the pandemic, many children in Georgia are facing food insecurity.
PepsiCo is partnering with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to deliver meals directly to students across the state. Their effort, “Meals to You,” has already brought over 280,000 meals to children and families across Georgia.
“We’ll package up 10 breakfasts, 10 lunches, put them in a box, seal that box up and deliver it directly to the child’s home,” senior manager for PepsiCo Food for Good Foundation Doug Hargis said. “That’s the brilliance of the program that I love, that it’s a contact-free type of meal delivery to the children.”
They’ve now expanded their program to all 50 states and Puerto Rico to deliver more than 5 million meals per week.
“Nobody knows where things are going to go in the fall,” Hargis said. “The program itself is slated to run through August, but again, they’re constantly assessing what the need is and we at Food for Good will continue to supply meals as long as necessary.”
Twenty-two million children receive free or reduced lunches at school. PepsiCo and the USDA say they will continue to ramp up their efforts until no child goes hungry.
“I personally as a child was a recipient of free and reduced lunches at school,” Hargis said. “Many of our employees have been recipients of these same types of programs.”
“So for us to get thanks in knowing that we’re helping others like we were as children, words just don’t express how meaningful that is to us,” he added.
You can contact your child’s school district to find out if you qualify for the “Meals to You” program. You can also visit the “Meals to You” website for more information about participating in free food deliveries.