by Megan Mongillo & Stephanie Kuzydym, WKRC
COVINGTON (WKRC) – Lunchtime brings a new kind of sound these days.
A Covington Independent Schools bus filled with something close to magic -- the magic of another meal rolling in.
Kim Kennett has four children in Covington Independent Schools.
“They remind me every morning at 11 o'clock, ‘Mom, lunch! Lunch!” Kennett said.
There are cartons of milk ready and hungry tummies waiting. Tiny arms reach out for the goodies in the day’s brown paper bag The contents include items like strawberry Uncrustables, broccoli, cheese cubes and ranch for lunch and some breakfast items too.
Covington Independent Schools food service workers spend their mornings creating and packing the bags then delivering them to a growing number of kids that reached more than 1,000 meals this week.
“I love to provide these kids with anything with everything going on right now,” said Nona Stevenson, one of the food service workers. “Some kids don’t have anything.”
With 90% of kids in the district on free and reduced-price lunches, Dr. Janice Wilkerson is planning for the future.
“It’s a very NASA-like approach when astronauts problem-solve,” Wilkerson, the assistant superintendent of student special services, said. “Solve the problem that’s in front of you today. And that’s very much what our district school and staff members are trying to do. Take care of today. Plan for the what-ifs."
The what-ifs include: What if school is out for more than just these two weeks?
On Friday, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear recommended all schools' closure periods extend until April 20. Wilkerson has already prepared plans for that scenario too.
In the City Heights Projects in Covington, meals get delivered every weekday.
“I am very grateful for this and my kids love it,” Kennett said. “They eat it up every time and it does help out a lot.”
In these strange times, a little interaction goes a long way, especially for Lakenya Mitchell, who grew up in City Heights.
“They couldn’t help it,” Mitchell said of the coronavirus school closures. “We couldn’t help it, so we’re delighted to [deliver the meals].”
The district serves meals for kids up to age 19, whether they attend a Covington school or not, at any of 10 sites, including their five elementary schools.