COVID-19 & School Food: Resources & Support

The novel coronavirus (also known as COVID-19) has led to sudden, widespread school closures across the country and globe. School food teams are working tirelessly to adapt to school closures and provide remote feeding solutions. To help ensure our nation's most at-risk children are being fed during this time of crisis, we’ve pulled together resources from our partner school districts to provide a place for operators to see what others are doing. For general information and specific guidance for school districts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, click here.

Please click here to sign The Lunch Tray's Thank You Card for America's School Food Professionals.

Check out the new series on our blog, The Lunch Line, showcasing food service directors and school food teams on the front lines of this crisis. Click here to learn more.

Free and Reduced Meal Applications

As more and more individuals lose their jobs, families are becoming food insecure overnight. Therefore, we encourage districts to start getting the word out to your community about free and reduced applications. If you have staff that are unable to participate in food distribution but need hours, consider having them call families to go over the process and answer questions. You could also include a flyer with more information in your meal bags. We suggest keeping this in mind for the 20-21 school year as well, as the number of those that are eligible will continue to grow. 

We have linked resources from Hunger Free Colorado to help you craft some marketing materials in English and Spanish. Please note that the resources linked suggest in-person applications. During this health crisis, we do not advocate for any non-essential in-person congregation. For more ideas to hep increase free and reduced-price lunch participation from Hunger Free Colorado, click here.

Donate to the School Nutrition Foundation's fundraiser to help districts feed children affected by COVID-19 school closures! This GoFundMe campaign will fund purchases of food and packaging for grab-and-go meals, mobile carts and kiosks for curbside service, supplies, and personal protection equipment. Click here to learn more and donate.

A Letter from CEO Mara Fleishman

Dear Chef Ann Foundation community,

Much like our organization and industry, I'm sure most of you are scrambling to create some semblance of order in our new realities. The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting so many aspects of our lives, and just when we think we have a handle on it, there’s another twist. 

Right now, our school food service professionals are on the front lines of this crisis. They’re working very long hours, creating makeshift cafeterias, and ensuring that our most vulnerable populations have food and nourishment. We are incredibly grateful for their service to our country. 

We also want to appreciate those who have reached out asking how they can help during this time. The Chef Ann Foundation (CAF) wants to make sure that we provide support where it’s needed, and right now school districts are scrambling just to meet the needs of their new remote feeding programs.

Because many school food leadership teams had to create emergency plans in such a short time period, they haven’t had the opportunity to confer with fellow districts on planning and issues. So our first step in support is to gather operational plans from our partner districts, to provide an at-a-glance view of different district’s decisions.

We have developed this webpage with links to our partner districts’ remote feeding plans, along with topline information about federal guidance during this time. In addition, we have links to partner sites that provide other information and helpful resources for school food programs.

If you are looking for ways to support your local school food programs, please visit your school district websites to see if they need donations or volunteers. CAF will continue to connect with all of our partner districts across the country to better understand their needs as this situation evolves. We will make sure to alert our community to any efforts we are undertaking, and any support needs we have.

Stay safe and healthy, and take care of each other.

Mara Fleishman
Chief Executive Officer
Chef Ann Foundation

Examples: Emergency Feeding Plans & Communications

Other Resources