Amid School Closings, Louisiana Nonprofit Three O’clock Project Steps In To Ensure Students Receive Daily Hot Meals And Fresh Milk
COVID-19 school closures have threatened the nutrition of more than 54 million students nationwide, many of whom are food insecure and dependent upon school meals for their daily nutrition. In addition, increasing unemployment is making it more difficult than ever for families to feed their families.
While many schools have continued to provide daily meals, a lack of staffing and resources have forced states like Louisiana to discontinue many of their school feeding sites. But because of its ongoing relationship with the Louisiana Department of Education, Three O’Clock Project—whose mission is to provide healthy meals in after-school programs for at-risk students—was able to step in and help fill the void.
It was a huge undertaking, but when asked if they could help on a larger scale by providing breakfast, lunch, and even dinner to school districts throughout Louisiana, Three O’Clock Project quickly stepped into action. To date, they are now serving over 400,000 meals per week (Monday-Sundays) for schools in and around New Orleans, Baton Rouge, and Lafayette, and that count is growing every day.
To accompany those meals, Three O’Clock Project is also serving students fresh milk provided by Brown’s Dairy of Louisiana, a subsidiary of Dean Foods. At one point, Three O’Clock Project was serving up to 60,000 half pints of milk per day across all their feeding sites, but the cost of purchasing milk through a food service provider was getting high. Now they’re working directly with Brown’s Dairy, and those thousands of half pints have transitioned to close to 20,000 half gallons weekly, which help with overall cost and efficiency of distribution. Not only that, but Brown’s has made available their trucks for refrigerated transportation to feeding sites across the state of Louisiana.
Local restaurants in Baton Rouge have also partnered with Three O’Clock to provide a ready and willing workforce experienced in food handling and preparation. In addition, to aid these staffers, Dairy MAX has donated personal protective equipment to Three O’Clock Project to help further support for their front-line workers.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, organizations like the Three O’Clock Project, The Louisiana Department of Education, Brown’s Dairy and Dairy MAX are working together to achieve the common goal of making sure children across the state of Louisiana continue to receive nutritious meals and fresh milk every day. Consider making a donation to Three O’Clock Project to keep the pushing the goal forward.
Photo courtesy of Three O'Clock Project.