Since COVID-19, Greene County has seen a lot of changes, but the community is still strong. While our schools are temporarily closed due to the public health crisis, school districts and a local business owner have come together to ensure students are still getting breakfast and lunch. This was especially a concern for those students who had been receiving free or reduced-cost meals while attending school.
Ted Nugent, Director of Transportation from the Coxsackie-Athens School District, and Bill Muirhead, Food Service Director from the Catskill School District, have been working on a joint initiative called “Operation: Feed the Children” with Wayne Parks from Coxsackie Transport to provide meals for students from both districts.
For over 29 years, Wayne Parks and his team from Coxsackie Transport Inc. have been the providing transportation services for wedding, corporate events, and school trips. Nugent and Muirhead approached Parks asking for help to distribute the meals locally on designated drop-off routes. Parks’ response was immediate; he would donate the resources needed to complete their plan.
Parks’ only comment has been to praise the school districts. “I just wanted to make sure that everybody… realizes what kind of job Ted Nugent and Bill Muirhead have been doing for the families of our communities. They were so far ahead of this, and set up the bussing for the in-house drop-offs of the food.”
A menu is created on a weekly basis and the meals are prepared by the staff members working in each district’s cafeteria. Twice a week, enough free meals are dropped off to students at local distribution locations or homes along the route to last until the next delivery.
Coxsackie Transport Inc. has donated two buses per district to help bring food to drop-off locations in Athens, Coxsackie, Catskill, Kiskatom, Palenville, and Cairo providing for over 150 students collectively. A teacher or a teacher’s aide rides along on each donated bus and safely distributes meals to the students on the designated routes.
“With the volunteers that are coming in and doing this, it’s absolutely amazing.” Muirhead states. “Catskill’s already strong and it’s just going to make Catskill stronger.”
If you would like to sign up to receive free meal service in the Coxsackie-Athens district, fill out the Coxsackie-Athens Breakfast Order Form. For Catskill’s Food Service, please call 518-943-2300 ext. 1413 or visit their website for distribution locations.