The Chisum Independent School District is taking a proactive approach in combating the outbreak of coronavirus. The school district already began serving meals at one of two sites recently, and are now adding the option for students to receive breakfast and lunch through delivery if they are unable to leave home.
“We are going to start home delivery beginning tomorrow for kids who cannot make it to one of the on campus sites,” Chisum ISD child nutrition director Wanda Armstrong said. “Students will receive the same breakfast and lunch meals they would if they picked their food up.”
Breakfast and lunch meals include the student’s choice of milk (regular, chocolate or strawberry) and choice of juice (orange, apple, grape, fruit punch) with each meal. Some of the breakfast items include cereal, graham crackers, fresh fruit and muffins, while lunch items include an Uncrustables peanut butter and jelly sandwich (ham and cheese sandwich for any students with a peanut allergy), chips and salsa, a half cup of vegetables that vary each day, one cup of light ranch, one fresh cut apple and one cup of peanut butter if the student is not allergic.
The work done by administrators, staff and other volunteers has been a group effort, and it takes plenty of people working together to make it not only possible, but also successful.
“It was a team effort with Wanda (Armstrong) and her ladies,” Chisum ISD superintendent Tommy Chalaire said. “I give all the credit to Wanda and her staff for coming up there early every morning getting these breakfasts and lunches made and out. There is a lot of helping in getting them to the sites.”
Even with all of the help between the staff, volunteers and administrators, each day of the week involve great deals of time.
“Most of the girls stay anywhere from three to five hours a day,” Armstrong said. “Most of them have stayed at least three hours a day on average. It just depends on how much prep we have to do each day, whether we are able to get to it the day before. We do sack lunch type of things, and we try to get that done in advance. I don’t have all my staff there each day, but have at least four with me every day, not including school staff that helps with delivery to each of the sites for pick up.”
The lengthy process begins very early each morning. Regardless, Armstrong and her staff have been consistent with both their work ethic and dedication around this new schedule.
“We typically get here around 6:30 a.m. and we are ready to go by 7 a.m.,” Armstrong said. “We spend a full day usually prepping meals, putting non-perishable items in bags but it takes about an hour to prep if we start in the morning. We get ours ready by 7:30 a.m. and Roxton’s by about 8 a.m. We serve breakfast and lunch in different meal sacks, but we have gotten a waiver of permission to deliver both at the same time.”
Knowing how much of a positive impact the foodservice has had on the community is both rewarding and makes the long hours more than worthwhile.
“There is a lot of pride in being a Mustang,” Armstrong said. “It’s unreal how many people in the community have asked to help once word got out that we were going to feed the kids. Chisum is really rural, which makes it difficult, but we are really blessed to have the help and support. It has been a blessing to all of our district, and they have all been a blessing to us. Our superintendent, campus principals, and others have been here early to help us all out. We feel a lot of pride for such a small, rural district that we are able to offer this service to our kids.”
“We’ve had to really think outside the box, and it’s been great and touching to watch this all unfold. Not one morning has there not been an administrator that has come in early asking what they can do to help. They and the staff I’ve got have been great. None of this is mandatory, but the commitment across the board has been very touching.”
Chalaire further echoed Armstrong’s sentiments with how the school district has been strong in rallying together around this service.
“We have people who are volunteering, and we are working on a schedule for people to sign up to volunteer next week,” Chalaire said. “The support has been overwhelming.”
Chisum ISD will also begin delivering meals to those who cannot make it to the Chisum Elementary site from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m. or the Roxton City Hall site from 9 to 11 a.m. Both breakfast and lunch meals are included together in separate sacks for each daily pick up or delivery.
Delivery requests must be made in advance (the day before or very early day of) with necessary details included. For any questions or for more information, contact Armstrong via email at email@example.com or call 903-669-8497.