TASD Continues to Provide Free Meals for District Students

Food+being+moved+from+the+Tyrone+Elementary+School+Cafeteria+kitchen+to+the+High+School+kitchen.

Photo courtesy of Amanda Grove

Food being moved from the Tyrone Elementary School Cafeteria kitchen to the High School kitchen.

Before the pandemic, approximately 46 percent of Tyrone Area School District students received free or reduced lunches. With unemployment skyrocketing across the country, the number of food insecure students has most likely climbed much higher during the pandemic.

Amanda [Grove] and her team have done an outstanding job, jumping in and planning how to make this happen in very little time. These individuals are helping the community in a huge way and we cannot thank them enough”

— Acting Superintendent Leslie Estep

To help families in need the Tyrone Area School District and The Nutrition Group have been working together to provide food to any Tyrone School District children in need during this crisis.

This service will continue two days a week until the end of the regular school year on June 4, 2020.

“We are [still] distributing meals on Monday and Thursday. On Mondays we hand out breakfast and lunch for three days, and Thursdays we hand out breakfast and lunch for four days,” said Tyrone food service director Amanda Grove.

The response from her employees and the community during this difficult time has been tremendous.

“I’m so proud of my team. We have a total of 11 employees from the Elementary (Mary Ann Martz, Teri Beckwith, Susan Hoover), Middle School (Jessica Mertiff, Colleen Malloy, Bobbi McNeal) and High School (Tammy DelBaggio, Gerri Smith, Debra McKeehen, Leslie Kensinger, Shelby Lehner) cafeterias that have never worked together before,” said Grove.

Delivering food across such a large geographical area is not an easy task, but Grove says her team has been up to the challenge.

“It took them two days to get on the same page, put a plan together, and to begin moving forward,” said Grove. “They have overcome hurdles with ease, communicate often with suggestions for improvement, and have jumped in wherever needed. They have rocked it and deserve a huge shout out.”

The bags used to package the food have been donationed by various local businesses including Ace Hardware, Mac’s Market, Burger King, The Village Panty, Dollar General, Save-a-Lot. Sheetz, PA Liquor Stores, and other locations, according to Grove.

While the donations help, with 8,400 meals being delivered every week, the program is losing money.

All of these meals are being provided free of charge to all students.

The district continues to pay for these meals through its contract with The Nutrition Group.

They have overcome hurdles with ease, communicate often with suggestions for improvement, and have jumped in wherever needed. They have rocked it and deserve a huge shout out”

— Amanda Grove

Under normal circumstances when the school cafeteria is open, many students pay full price for their meals. Also, revenue is raised from adults in the school are buying lunches, and students buying the a la carte options. The program is now operating without any of those revenue streams.

“This will affect the financials in a negative way, but the continuation of this feeding program will benefit the district,” says Grove.

Over the course of this nationwide pandemic Tyrone has been seeing how good the people and businesses in the community can be, from donating their time to donating food and supplies the community of Tyrone has stayed together.

“These individuals are helping the community in a huge way and we cannot thank them enough,” says Grove.

This remains true, as people and businesses continue to help in an effort to give food to those who need it.

In addition to the regular meal distribution, The Nutrition Group and volunteers will be handing out other treats from 11 – 1 pm. May 14, 2020: iced coffee, May 21, 2020: popcorn, May 28, 2020: ice cream, and June 4, 2020: popcorn.

“Amanda [Grove] and her team have done an outstanding job, jumping in and planning how to make this happen in very little time. These individuals are helping the community in a huge way and we cannot thank them enough,” said acting superintendent Leslie Estep.

To register for this free program click HERE.

Information on free meals
Photo courtesy of Amanda Grove