Korea’s School Meal Program Nourishing Kids with Grab-and-Go Meals During COVID-19 Pandemic
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Since early March, Exchange associates in Korea have served nearly 1,700 grab-and-go meals to military children engaging in virtual learning at during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Feeding military children during a crisis highlights the Exchange’s mission of standing alongside Warfighters and their families for nearly 125 years.
From March 2-18, students at Camp Humphreys, Osan AB and U.S. Army Garrison Daegu have received 761 breakfasts and 938 lunches to take home as they continue schooling at home.
“We are leaning forward to provide our children with nutritious lunches to keep them ready and resilient to learn,” said Col. Scott Maskery, Exchange Pacific Region commander. “The brown-bag option allows students to continue eating healthy meals prepared in a clean and safe environment.”
Eight Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) schools have been closed since March 2, and DoDEA leaders asked the Exchange to serve students despite school building closures.
Installations across the Korean Peninsula were affected by measures executed out of an abundance of caution to protect the force. DoDEA made the ultimate decision to close school buildings based on a strong recommendation from U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) leaders. When DoDEA closed their physical locations and began online education, USFK leaders identified a need to continue feeding children.
“The Exchange school meal program was there to answer that need,” said Regional Vice President Scott Bonner. “Garrisons have executed outdoor activities for children to normalize life through COVID-19 protection measures, and the Exchange school mean program just adds to that normalization.”
In the Europe Region, the Exchange school meal program will serve grab-and-go lunches, starting next week, to at least 15 schools throughout Germany. DoDEA schools in Italy will not participate in the program.
When the school buildings aren’t closed, the Exchange provides an average of more than 2,700 breakfasts and lunches in DoDEA schools in Korea each school day.
In Europe and the Pacific regions, DoDEA students receive more than 2.5 million meals a year via the Exchange’s school meal program.