Delivering Nutrition to School Children during COVID-19
The closure of schools around the world due to COVID-19 risks having a major impact on the health and nutrition of school children. Key global stakeholders such as WFP (World Food Programme), FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations), and GCNF (Global Child Nutrition Foundation) are actively advocating Governments to continue providing nutrition to children despite school closures.
GCNF is reaching out to their network of Governments, NGOs, businesses, and community organizations all over the world with the purpose of sharing innovative solutions being used to deliver food safely to children. The WFP and FAO are working locally with Governments and suppliers to ensure that school children continue to receive support. Food safety, in combination with digital tools, are playing a very important role in the distribution and logistics.
“Our priority focus is to work in collaboration with customers and stakeholders to ensure the food supply. In this context, we are in contact with relevant organizations and stakeholders, both locally and regionally, to share innovative solutions and best practices being used in SFP around the world”, says Rafael Fábrega, Food for Development Director at Tetra Laval.
In China, for example, Tetra Pak has been actively working with customers, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Agriculture, and the Dairy Association of China to ensure delivery of school milk. There are two methods in place where parents can pick-up the milk from the schools, and they also have “on-line orders” and “non-contact delivery” to facilitate the ordering and distribution of school milk to students´ homes. The students’ general information is submitted such as: ID, school, class, and parents´ contact number. The delivery person stores the milk in designated storage cabinets and provides a password by mobile. With the password, the cabinet can be opened and milk collected. The receiver and delivery person has no face-to-face handover. Some dairy companies are also donating protective materials.
The Dominican Republic government has mandated that students continue to get their meals. The INABIE (National Institute of Student Welfare) established a mechanism so that the families of the students can pick up their school milk from their educational centers on a scheduled basis.
The USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) is encouraging flexibility in providing breakfast and lunch to students off-site through a drive through “grab and go” meals system as well as home delivery.
In Japan, the SFP food service operators are offering “take-away” meals at marked-down prices to support families, as most schools across the country, which normally provide lunches, remain closed until April.
In India, states are providing milk and ingredients used in the Mid-Day Meal Scheme to be sent to the children’s homes instead of being cooked in school kitchens.
GCNF invites school feeding stakeholders to post their examples in an on-line survey: https://gcnf.org/covid/