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Meals-to-You helps Russellville students

Parents of some Russellville students will have one less thing to worry about this summer, as the Meals-to-You Program is giving students 20 free meals to help get them through the summer.

RCS Child Nutrition Program Director Elaine Vaughn said more than 1,000 students in Russellville City Schools signed up for this program to receive 20 shelf-stable meals for breakfast and lunch.

“The Meals-to-You demonstration project provides crucial nutrition to children in rural settings who may otherwise be unable to access federal nutrition programs,” said Vaughn. “Meals-to-You was initially created as a common-sense response for rural communities where congregate meals are impractical. Due to the success of the model, Emergency Meals-to-You is being offered as a response to COVID-19-related school closures.”

Jeremy Everett, executive director of the Baylor Collaborative on Hunger and Poverty, said in a press conference that when he and his team began thinking of ways to help with the COVID-19 pandemic, working with schools across the country seemed like the best place to start.

“For children in the U.S., our schools play a critical role in helping us to end childhood hunger,” Everett said.

Vaughn said all school districts in the state were notified about the program and given the option to apply to see whether they qualified.

To be eligible for the program, prospective school districts had to have been closed for at least four weeks, have at least 50 percent of students on free or reduced lunches and be considered a rural area.

“We feel this would just be an extra benefit to the families in our community,” Vaughn said.

Once RCS received word it qualified for the Meals-to-You program, the school posted on its website and social media, as well as used word-of-mouth to notify students and parents to sign up for the program in time for the deadline.

Families were able to go online to apply for the program, with RCS verifying student status.

The meals are sent directly to each house, with a package of 20 meals per child in each household. Meals are expected to be shipped to families by June 30.