Exchange Grab-and-Go School Meals Nourish Spirits Throughout Military Communities

DALLAS – As COVID-19 continues to create uncertainty, the Army & Air Force Exchange Service remains committed to supporting Soldiers, Airmen and military families, just has it has for nearly 125 years. With schools going virtual amid the pandemic, the Exchange has implemented a grab-and-go school meal program for students in Korea, Europe, Okinawa and Japan.

The program began in Korea in early March with schools in Europe, Okinawa and Japan coming on board March 23. At designated times each day, families stop by one of the centralized locations for the grab-and-go meals. Exchange associates and school personnel are present to monitor and enforce social distancing when students and their families arrive.

“The Exchange’s mission is essential, and the team continues to lean forward to support military communities overseas,” said Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Luis Reyes, the Exchange senior enlisted advisor. “Even though classes aren’t meeting in person, children are still learning in virtual classrooms, and the Exchange’s school meal program will continue to serve them. The Exchange is living out its core value of family serving family.”

In the program’s first week, the Exchange served more than 3,100 meals to military children in Europe, with Japan and Okinawa at nearly 3,000. To date, Korea has served more than 3,000 meals to students.

For Jovonna Nelson, a military spouse and mother of three living in Germany’s Kaiserslautern military community, the grab-and-go meals are a stress relief.

“With the kids having to be homeschooled right now, it lifts up the burden of having to cook multiple times a day,” Nelson said. “The kids are excited and enjoy eating the school’s lunches.”

The Exchange operates the school meal program for military students overseas, serving more than 2.5 million meals a year.

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Since 1895, the Army & Air Force Exchange Service (Exchange) has gone where Soldiers, Airmen and their families go to improve the quality of their lives by providing valued goods and services at exclusive military pricing. The Exchange is the 62nd-largest retailer in the United States. Its earnings provided $2.3 billion in dividends to support military morale, welfare and recreation programs over the last 10 years. The Exchange is a non-appropriated fund entity of the Department of Defense and is directed by a Board of Directors. The Exchange is a 50th Anniversary Vietnam War Commemorative Partner, planning and conducting events and activities that recognize the service, valor and sacrifice of Vietnam Veterans and their families in conjunction with the United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration. To find out more about the Exchange history and mission or to view recent press releases please visit our website at http://www.shopmyexchange.com or follow us on Twitter at https://twitter.com/ExchangePAO.

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Media Notes:

For more information or to schedule an interview with an Exchange representative please contact Chris Ward, 214-312-3861 or wardchr@aafes.com.

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