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South Carolina district gets helping hand from local food service vendor

The School District Five of Lexington & Richland Counties teamed up with Smart Mouth Pizza to continue serving student-favorite meal from food truck.


School nutrition programs have always relied on strong partnerships with local vendors. But when coronavirus hit, one South Carolina district got an added helping hand when a manufacturer showed up with a menu item that is always a winner on school lunch menus: pizza.

The School District Five of Lexington & Richland Counties in Irmo, S.C., has had a build-your-own pizza program, serving up fresh pizza every day in the middle and high schools. But Director of Student Nutrition Todd Bedenbaugh wanted to bring that choice to students, even during COVID-19.

“We wanted to give students some hot food at least once a week,” he says. So he called up the president of Smart Mouth Pizza, a company out of Atlanta that helps the district with its pizza program, and the company brought its food truck to two high schools to serve hot, fresh pizza to families.

Last week, the district served more than 44,000 meals to area families. After starting with daily meal pickups, Bedenbaugh’s team switched to a Monday weekly pickup, giving anyone 18 or under five breakfasts and five lunches. “We went to one-day-a-week pickups to try to keep our people safe and to not expose them as much,” he says.

Watch the video to learn more about the partnership.

Do you have a story to share about how your team is weathering the coronavirus storm? Food Management wants to hear. You can email me at [email protected].


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