Today U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced a collaboration with the Baylor Collaborative on Hunger and Poverty, McLane Global, PepsiCo, and others to deliver nearly 1,000,000 meals a week to students in a limited number of rural schools closed due to COVID-19.
“Right now, USDA and local providers are utilizing a range of innovative feeding programs to ensure children are practicing social distancing but are still receiving healthy and nutritious food," Perdue said in a statement. "This whole of America approach to tackling the coronavirus leverages private sector ingenuity with the exact same federal financing as the Summer Food Service Program. USDA has already taken swift action to ensure children are fed in the event of school closures, and we continue to waive restrictions and expand flexibilities across our programs.”
“PepsiCo is committing $1 million to help Baylor create a solution with USDA to identify children most in need and then we will help reach them with at least 200,000 meals per week—one way we are deploying our food and beverage resources to help those most vulnerable,” said Jon Banner, Executive Vice President, PepsiCo Global Communications and President, PepsiCo Foundation.
According to reports, the USDA plans to use best practices learned through a summer pilot program in 2019 to deliver the food boxes to children affected by school closures due to COVID-19 in rural America. The Baylor Collaborative on Hunger and Poverty, McLane Global, and PepsiCo will begin distributing next week and will increase capacity of nearly 1,000,000 nutritious meals per week.