School board will have feeding program

Wednesday, March 18, 2020
Article Image Alt Text

The Jeff Davis Parish School Board has decided it will implement a food program for students for possibly four weeks while campus cafeterias are closed.

At a meeting Tuesday night, board members said they agreed with the feeding concerns of Kirk Credeur, superintendent of parish schools. On Monday he said a lack of available employees, heightened costs and transportation concerns would make it difficult to provide daily meals.

"My main concern is the safety of our employees," Credeur said. "We're asking our lowest-paid employees to come in and work during an unprecedented situation, when others who make the same pay or much more than them are not being asked to work."

He also said he did not want to expose food service workers to any health issues.

The district is looking at spending an extra $30,000 in providing what it calls "grab and go" meals in four different areas of the parish. Child Nutrition Supervisor Tina Coleman said easy meals like sandwiches with fruit, vegetables and juice could be quickly prepared and delivered in the late morning, and children ages 2-18, or up to 22 if the person has certain disabilities, could pick up a lunch that includes a breakfast for the following morning.

Wednesday morning, Credeur said he had been in touch with a health inspector to ensure their plan was acceptable.

As of press time Wednesday, the four feeding sites had yet to be determined. A specific plan should be approved at tonight's meeting of the school board, then be implemented by Monday.

All board members expressed concern for children who are suddenly doing without two daily meals they would otherwise receive if schools were in session.

"I have had retired and current teachers talk to me, worried about kids having no food," said Donn E. Dees. "I don't think we should say no to a feeding program when everyone around us is trying."

"If there are hungry people, sometimes it's worth losing thousands of dollars," added Jimmy Segura.

David Doise said he had no problem supporting a temporary pay bump for cafeteria workers who volunteer to assist with the feeding program.

Director of Finance Bill Hebert said the board might be able to be reimbursed for extra costs during this time by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Board member Denise Perry offered to volunteer with the feeding program, as did Debbie Abshire-Sonnier, executive secretary to the superintendent.