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Greenville County Schools serves 1 million meals during coronavirus shutdown

Director Joe Urban also talks about financial stress and looking forward to fall. Becky Schilling

The food and nutrition services team at Greenville County Schools is known for innovation, and some really, really good food. But when the coronavirus hit, Director Joe Urban knew he had to put his innovation and “food ego” aside to serve students meals in new and different ways.

And serve students his team has—they are hitting the 1 million meal mark this week! Using a variety of service styles, including 70 bus stops, the nutrition departments has teamed up with bus drivers and nurses to keep the community’s children served.

Director-food-nutrition-services-Joe-Urban.jpgUrban, like many directors, says serving during the coronavirus puts an even bigger financial burden on his program. “This is not a profitable program,” Urban says of his service right now, including paying all his employees their salaries, regardless of whether they are working or not (he’s also paying those that are working time and a half). “We’re very fortunate that we’ve run a very successful program for a number of years, so we were able to shore up our fund balance. But for some districts, this will break them.

“As soon as normal happens, if normal ever happens again, we’re ready to start serving those innovative things again,” he adds. Watch the video below to see what the different fall scenarios Urban’s team is working through.


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