Paterson schools starts meal delivery program for students amid pandemic

Coronavirus Update New Jersey
PATERSON, New Jersey (WABC) -- There's a new pilot program in Paterson to deliver meals directly to the homes of students.

Paterson Public Schools families will use an online tool to determine their eligibility for the pilot program.

"As long as this pandemic continues, we simply cannot do enough to keep our students food secure," Superintended Eileen Shafer said. "This pilot program started with a collaborative vision between the district, the United Way of Passaic County, and other partnering organizations to bring student meals to those who could not otherwise get them. This will be a learning experience for all of us. But we hope to apply what we learn through the pilot program to make this service available to all district families who need it."

Through state emergency COVID-19 funding, the MotivCare transportation company is able to provide two vehicles to make deliveries on Mondays and Thursdays.

"We have been working with Paterson Public Schools' Food Services Department to support meal distribution throughout the pandemic," said Yvonne Zuidema, of the United Way. "This latest innovation to increase access to school meals through geo-mapping is the brainchild of our NJ FoodCorps service member Nima Homami. We are so proud of his work and our partnerships with NJ Food Corps and Paterson Public Schools to increase food security in Passaic County."

Meal deliverers would call or text the households prior to their arrival, giving families advance notice of the meals being delivered.

To be eligible for the delivery service, a family would need to live more than one mile from any distribution site.

The success of the pilot program could lead to additional vehicles and the service being expanded to more district families.

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