When Charleston County School District’s (CCSD) Department of Nutrition Services applied to partner with the Baylor University Collaborative on Hunger and Poverty and the U.S. Department of Agriculture for the Emergency Meals-to-You (eMTY) program in the spring, staff members knew this service would fill a need. This week, Baylor University released how many meals were provided and the number of individuals that were supported by this effort.
The eMTY service provided 156,040 meals at no cost to CCSD families between May and August of this year; the meals were delivered directly to the homes of students. In all, 7,802 boxes were delivered to 498 households, with 1,130 children receiving those meals.
Emergency Meals-to-You boxes were shipped directly to families’ doors every other week for every child (ages 1-18) in their household. Each box included 10 breakfasts and 10 lunches, the equivalent of what they would receive at school for two weeks.
Families with students enrolled at the following schools were eligible to participate in the program:
- Angel Oak Elementary
- Baptist Hill Middle High
- E.B. Ellington Elementary
- Edith L. Frierson Elementary
- Haut Gap Middle
- Jane Edwards Elementary
- Minnie Hughes Elementary
- Mt. Zion Elementary
- St. James-Santee Elementary-Middle
- St. John’s High
"CCSD Nutrition Services served more than one million meals through curbside and bus delivery during the COVID-19 school shutdown,” said Kerrie Hollifield, the district’s registered dietitian. “However, even with our efforts, we knew that meal gaps still existed. We wanted to ensure that families who face meal barriers were able to be provided nutritious and delicious meals. The eMTY partnership helped us do this by delivering these meals straight to our students’ homes.”
This initiative was an expansion of a regional pilot program that had previously served Texas households in 2019. As part of the federal government’s pandemic response, the USDA asked the BCHP to increase its meal delivery work to meet the needs of children in rural areas nationwide. The BCHP accepted the challenge and called in key public and private partners to assist, ultimately growing the program from its origins of more than 475,000 meals to 4,000 students in Texas only to serving a total of 38,783,700 meals to 270,483 children in 43 of 50 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico.
Children in some of the most remote areas of the U.S. received meals, said Jeremy Everett, BCHP executive director.
“In this unprecedented time of so much need, children in rural areas can be among the most vulnerable,” said Everett. “Without access to school lunch programs, public transportation, and other resources, households in some of the country’s hardest hit communities were left scrambling for ways to replace much needed meal resources. BCHP’s collaboration with the USDA and its partners filled that need for more than 127,700 households nationwide as our meal delivery brought resources right to their front door.”
For more information, contact CCSD’s Nutrition Services Department at (843) 566- 7266.
Please note, all data in this press release is provisional and subject to change. Provisional data may be incomplete and are subject to change until final approval. Please understand adjustments may occur as data reviews continue.