As Winona Area Public Schools teachers, administrators and staff were preparing for the possibility of distance learning in March of 2020, the School Nutrition staff was hard at work figuring out how to make sure no student went hungry because of school closures.
On March 18, 2020, the first free meal packs were distributed at several sites around the community, just two days after schools were closed.
In the year since, the School Nutrition staff handed out 402,971 free meals to all students aged 18 and under in Winona, regardless if they attend a WAPS school or not. That number continues to rise each week, as all meals are free to students in school and also available to the community through a weekly pickup at Winona Senior High School on Wednesdays.
These meals have included:
- 11,063 pounds of whole grain cereal
- 39,202 pounds of apples
- 19,601 pounds of carrots
- 38,136 sticks of string cheese
- 7,350 gallons of vegetable juice
- 62,062 gallons of milk
All told, the School Nutrition staff has spent 29,864 labor hours preparing, packing and distributing the free meals around the district. The staff has also received assistance from First Student bus drivers to make sure students all around the district had access to these meals during the pandemic, and many local businesses and organizations donated supplies, such as plastic bags, to make sure the meals could be easily delivered.
To learn more about the free meal program during COVID-19, click here.