Education Launches Meals Program

Lunch is distributed Thursday at Pearl B. Larsen Pre-K thought 8 School on St. Croix. (Photo provided by VIDE)

The V.I. Department of Education on Thursday launched its “No V.I. Child Goes Hungry” program, bringing more than 2,000 meals to students on St. Thomas and St. Croix.

“No V.I. Child Goes Hungry” was launched in response to the school closures caused by the spread of the novel coronavirus around the world. Like people around the world, USVI residents have been urged to stay home to prevent the rise of infections from overwhelming medical facilities. The program is providing two meals a day, Monday through Friday, throughout the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.

In a news release issued Friday, the DOE gave details of Thursday’s kickoff for the program.

St. Croix District:
Breakfast – pancakes, sausage and milk. 181 meals served.
Lunch – Spaghetti, ground turned, corn, mixed fruit cup and milk. 325 meals served.

St. Thomas/St. John District
Breakfast – Pancakes and syrup or tuna fish salad and sliced bread, graham crackers, juice and milk. 575 meals.
Lunch – Chicken breast with sweet and source sauce, tofu or sweet and sour tofu, spaghetti and ground turkey, seasoned rice, sweet potato, green peace, veggie beans, veggie nuggets, mandarin oranges, juice and milk. 1,251 meals served.

The program employed:
– St. Croix – three kitchen managers, 20 kitchen workers and 21 monitors.
– St. Thomas/St. John – Nine kitchen managers, 61 kitchen workers and 36 monitors.

In a related news release, the Department of Education noted that the program’s kitchen managers, kitchen workers, school monitors, and school bus drivers, who are essential to the preparation and distribution of meals to students during the school closures, have been provided personal protective equipment in the form of disposable gloves, to ensure workers’ safety while performing their duties. Additionally, adequate instruction on frequent hand cleansing, social distancing and remaining at home when sick is regularly provided to all VIDE employees in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Face masks
It is the recommendation of international, national and local health experts that single-use face masks, be worn only by: 1. health professionals treating patients who have tested positive for COVID-19 and 2. patients who have tested positive for COVID-19.

A team from the 'No V.I. Child Goes Hungry Program' sets up to distribute meals Thursday at Smith Bay Ballpark. (Photo provided by VIDE)
A team from the ‘No V.I. Child Goes Hungry Program’ sets up to distribute meals Thursday at Smith Bay Ballpark. (Photo provided by VIDE)

As the coronavirus continues to spread rapidly around the globe, there is a shortage of face masks and gloves for use by medical professionals who are at the forefront of fighting the disease, the VIDE release said. Supplies cannot be produced fast enough, as demand far exceeds production rates. When made available, these critical items are rightly being supplied first to medical professionals and other first responders.

Meals will be distributed at designated locations in both school districts from Monday through Friday. Parents and students should visit the distribution site closest to their homes, the DOE said.

St. Croix District Pick Up
Breakfast: 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. Lunch: Noon to 1 p.m.
Claude O. Markoe Elementary School
Eulalie R. Rivera K-8 School
John H. Woodson Junior High School
Juanita Gardine K-8 School
Lew Muckle Elementary School
Pearl B. Larsen PreK-8 School
Ricardo Richards Elementary School
St. Croix Educational Complex High School

St. Thomas-St. John District Pick Up
Breakfast: 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. Lunch: Noon to 1 p.m.
Alvin McBean Ballpark
Anna’s Retreat Community Center
Bordeaux Basketball Court
Contant Knolls Community Center
Estate Bovoni Community Center
Julius E. Sprauve School
Michael Kirwan Terrance Community Center
Oswald E. Harris Court Community Center
Paul M. Pearson Garden Community Center
Savan Basketball Court
Smith Bay Ballpark
Tutu Valley Basketball Court
Ulla F. Muller Elementary School (front entrance)
Winston Raymo Recreational Center

Some distribution sites may be added, removed or consolidated, depending on participation levels, the department said in its news release. School monitors will be stationed at all sites to ensure crowd control, ease of movement and that only students or parents receive the prepared meals, due to limited quantities.