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Meals with a Smile in Black Mountain
Meals with a Smile in Black Mountain
Posted on 04/02/2020
Students were served a staggering 115,000 meals in the first two weeks since schools closed for student instruction on March 14.By: Benjamin Rickert, BCS Communications

As the COVID-19 crisis continues, communities are learning just how many activities can be indefinitely postponed. Eating is not one of them.

Meals sit ready to be served in the Black Mountain Primary cafeteria.Continuing to meet this critical need is the Buncombe County Schools Nutrition team, aided by staff and volunteers across the county. Area students were served a staggering 115,000 meals in the first two weeks since schools closed for student instruction on March 14.

“Every night I go home and think, ’we did it!’” said Jessica Myers, School Nutrition Manager at Black Mountain Elementary and Primary schools. “It’s exhausting, but I feel really good about what we’re doing. We are getting the meals out there to our families who don’t have access to food.”

Families can visit one of several school meal sites listed at Response.BuncombeSchools.org, as well as “yellow bus” sites organized in certain communities. Breakfasts are served from 7:30 a.m. until 8:30 a.m. and lunches are served from 11:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. On Fridays during lunch, students also receive boxed meals for the weekend.

Families are served breakfast and lunch daily at meal sites around Buncombe County.In the Black Mountain area, students have two school serving sites available: Black Mountain Primary School and Charles D. Owen High School. At Black Mountain Primary, Myers' team works alongside staff from W.D. Williams Elementary. The team has created an assembly line in the primary school cafeteria, and does some tasks three days ahead of schedule to stay on top of the demand. Each day, families drive to the rear of the school for curbside breakfast and lunch pickup.

Myers says sanitization is paramount to her operation.

“Gloves are key and we’re constantly wiping down every single thing we can think of,” she said. “We also have a new sanitizer (that kills coronavirus) we are using. We let it saturate overnight, and then in the morning we do our regular cleaning, as well.”

A Buncombe County deputy serves meals at Black Mountain Primary.The staff also expressed their gratitude for daily on-site assistance from local Buncombe County Sheriff's deputies, and the Ingles stores in Fletcher and Black Mountain for providing important supplies.

Black Mountain Primary principal Malorie McGinnis said serving is part of her school's culture and promotes connectedness in the community.

“I am so proud of our cafeteria staff,” she said. “They have worked tirelessly to meet the needs of students and families. Our Grab-and-Go, curbside pickup not only provides food, it also provides that personal greeting and warm smiles.”

    Buncombe County Schools is in the process of reviewing its website to ensure compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Buncombe County Schools does not discriminate on the basis of sex in its education programs or activities and is required by Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972 and federal regulations to not discriminate in such a manner. This requirement extends to admission and employment. Inquiries about the application of Title IX and its implementing federal regulations may be referred to the Title IX Coordinator and/or the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights in the Office for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Education. The Title IX Coordinator's contact information is: Shanon Martin, shanon.martin@bcsemail.org, 828-255-5918, 175 Bingham Road, Asheville, NC 28806.

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