VINELAND – Sodexo, the school district’s food service provider, is on a mission to assure youngsters across the country have access to nutritious meals.
The Stop Hunger initiative is taking root in Vineland through a Sodexo partnership with the school district and Community Food Bank.
On Wednesday, healthy food items were piled on tables extending the length of the gym in the Landis Administration Building on West Landis Avenue.
Volunteers packed what was available, including soy milk, vegetable trays and salad bowls with veggie noodles, into easy to carry two-bag take-outs.
An invitation, issued through Vineland Public Schools, welcomed families to the free food distribution that was open for two hours.
“One of Sodexo’s main missions is to stop hunger,” said Purvesh Patel, the school district food service director.
The program launched within the school district in November with the distribution of free turkeys, he said.
This week’s distribution was slated for next week but was moved up when the Community Food Bank delivery included a vast array of perishable items.
The program is free of red tape and paperwork.
Puvesh explained they operate simply on the premise if families need the food, they are welcome to it.
There is no registration required for families to participate.
“They can just come; we’re on a trust-based system,” Patel said. “We advertise to our school community and even to our Facebook community.”
The next distribution is tentatively scheduled for mid-April.
“We understand a lot of people get paid in the beginning and the end of the month,” Patel said. “It’s in the middle of the month they struggle.”
What items will be available won’t be known until the Community Food Bank delivery, Patel said, noting he can usually post a tentative list a few days prior to the distribution date on the Vineland Public Schools Facebook page.
Deborah M. Marko; 856-563-5256; dmarko2gannettnj.com; Twitter: @dmarko_dj
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