Seymour Community School Corp. offering mobile, curbside meals


As the first snow of the season fell Monday, a parent of a Seymour High School student pulled into the Reddington Christian Church parking lot.

Stopping next to a Seymour Community School Corp. minibus, she was greeted by food services employee Jill Kamman, who asked the name and grade of the student.

Kamman then went to the back of the bus, where Audrey Barnes handed her a bag containing two lunches and two breakfasts to give to the woman.

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She then drove back to her nearby Reddington home with food for her son, who is spending this week doing virtual learning from home.

Jackson County’s largest school corporation recently announced all students, from kindergarten to 12th grade, would move to virtual instruction after Thanksgiving because of an increasing number of students and staff being placed on quarantine due to exposure to COVID-19.

The plan is for Seymour schools to return to a hybrid schedule for grades 6 through 12 and in-person or virtual instruction for kindergarten through fifth grade on Monday. A final decision is expected to come Thursday.

While students are out of the school buildings, they still have access to nutritious food.

Free curbside meals were available for pickup at the schools from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday, and they will be handed out again at the same time today.

A new option is mobile meals, which the Seymour High School parent took advantage of Monday.

A minibus was set up in the Reddington Christian Church parking lot from 11:40 to 11:55 a.m., near the Sycamore Springs Apartments office from 12:05 to 12:20 p.m. and near the Village Green Mobile Home Park office from 12:30 to 12:45 p.m. Monday. A total of 24 students were served.

The bus will follow the same route today. Meals are only for virtual learners enrolled at Seymour Community School Corp. and are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Parents can register their student by calling 812-271-1344 or show up at one of the locations today.

There also was an evening option Monday, and it will be offered again today from 5 to 6 p.m. at Door 2 at Margaret R. Brown Elementary School.

“It’s a very successful first day, for sure,” Barnes said after the three daytime stops were completed Monday. “For the word to have really not gotten out except for the survey (last week) and social media super early this morning, I think 24 is definitely something to be proud of. I feel like every car that we feed is mouths fed. If it helps one family, then we’ve done our job for the day.”

A survey was sent out before Thanksgiving with information about meals and how to sign up. Twelve students were signed up, but 50 meals were placed on the bus Monday in case others showed up.

Food services staff members were busy Monday morning putting the items together. Each student received four small cartons of milk, an orange, a yogurt, a cheese stick, graham crackers, fruit juice, vegetable juice, applesauce, Bosco sticks and marinara, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and french toast bites.

They received two breakfasts and two lunches, and that amount will be tripled today.

“So it becomes quite a bit of food that they are able to take home to ration out for the week,” Barnes said. “It’s all stuff to heat up or ready to eat. It’s all fully cooked. … They can definitely just throw it in the microwave, very quick and easy.”

Kamman said the mobile meals will make a huge impact on families.

“It’s food that is easy for the kids to prepare, so if the parents aren’t home, they kids can easily eat this without the parents having to worry about the oven or the stovetop,” she said.

Barnes said she and Stacey Townsend, director of child nutrition programs for Seymour Community School Corp., came up with different options as “what ifs” at the beginning of the school year in case the pandemic changed school operations.

After Superintendent Brandon Harpe announced the change to virtual instruction, Barnes and Townsend worked over Thanksgiving break to organize the curbside and mobile meals.

“She’s wonderful about being able to put things together,” Barnes said of Townsend. “We’re listening to other schools and what they are doing and just trying to get as much food out there as we possibly can.”

Townsend said they consulted with Tim Fosbrink, the corporation’s director of transportation, to establish stopping points for the mobile meals that would benefit people not able to make it to one of the school buildings or without transportation.

“I’m hoping that families that don’t have the means or access to get to one of our school locations will be able to get meals at their home, whether it be at the mobile home park or at the apartment building,” Townsend said.

All students in public schools in Seymour, Brownstown, Crothersville and Medora are eligible to receive free breakfasts and lunches this school year thanks to a waiver from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. That’s another action being taken to provide assistance and relief to families during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Funding for the program is coming from the same source used by schools to serve free meals to all children in the community during the summer. It also allowed schools to serve free prepackaged to-go meals to all students during the spring when schools were closed due to the pandemic.

The cost of all meals served will be reimbursed to the schools by the USDA at the free meal rate, which is greater than the financial support schools receive for serving reduced-price or paid meals.

The curbside meals will be available as long as Seymour schools remain on the extended virtual plan, and the mobile meals will continue as long as there’s a good number of people participating, Townsend said.

“We tried to think of creative solutions of how can we get food to our kids when they are not here with us,” she said.

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Students in kindergarten through 12th grade enrolled at Seymour Community School Corp. can receive free meals today.

Curbside meals are available for pickup from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the school buildings.

Mobile meals are available for pickup from 11:40 to 11:55 a.m. in the parking lot at Reddington Christian Church, near the Sycamore Springs Apartments office from 12:05 to 12:20 p.m. and near the Village Green Mobile Home Park office from 12:30 to 12:45 p.m. Look for the SCSC minibus.

Meals also will be distributed from 5 to 6 p.m. at Door 2 at Margaret R. Brown Elementary School.

To sign up for the mobile meals, call 812-271-1344 or show up at one of the sites. Meals will be available on a first-come, first-served basis.


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