School district staff on the frontlines to fight hunger

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FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Students haven’t been in school since March, but districts are making sure they don’t go hungry.

Parents like Joshua N. Lockett and his daughter, Kyla have benefitted from free meals provided by Fayetteville Public Schools.

“We hold a full school day at the house,” Lockett said. “To have a prepared meal ready for us here is really convenient.”

“For some families, the school meals are the main meals of the day for their children,” said Ally Mrachek, director of child nutrition for the district. “And we’re happy to serve in that way.”

Mrachek said the pandemic has changed her job significantly.

“During the summer months, we probably serve 500 lunches daily,” Mrachek said. “Now on Tuesdays, we’re serving 16,000 breakfasts and 16,000 lunches on one day. So the numbers have jumped a bit.”

But Mrachek said staff are taking the changes in stride.

“I’m just so thankful and in awe of my staff,” Mrachek said. “Over just these last few weeks, they’ve been able to increase their production with kind of a skeleton crew.”

But the work isn’t easy.

“They’re saying they’re tired,” Mrachek said. “But I think when they see the car lines and they’re handing out meals and they’re thanked for it, I think they’re proud to do this work.”

These meals are available for anyone 18 and under, regardless of their situation.

“I’d say to not feel ashamed or sad or weird coming through the line,” Mrachek said. “We see people from all walks of life coming through the line and we don’t ask questions. We’re too busy to think about those details.”

“I can say nothing but thanks to everybody involved,” Lockett said. “It’s been a big help.”

Meals are given out on Tuesdays, 11:00 am. to 1:00 p.m. Click here for locations.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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