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UPDATED: local schools announce food distribution plans for students during COVID-19 closures

From Staff Reports

Distribution of meals for Perry County students impacted by the closure of school campuses in response to the coronavirus outbreak is set to begin this week in parts of the county and next week in the Richton area.

Supt. of Education Scott Dearman announced Monday the Perry County School District will begin distributing meals to area children on Wednesday. Richton High School Principal Ben Bryan announced Tuesday afternoon that a similar program will begin in the Richton School District area of service this coming Monday.

Dearman said in a news release Monday that PCSD school personnel will be serving “grab and go” meals beginning Wednesday, March 25, at Perry Central Middle School in New Augusta. Dearman said the program will continue until further for all children 18 and under. There is no charge for the meals and children do not have to be enrolled with the PCSD to participate.

According to guidelines provided by Dearman, meals will be distributed in drive-thru fashion Monday-Friday from 11 a.m.until noon. Per federal regulations children must be present/in the car to claim their meal. However, children will not need to leave the vehicle to receive their food package, which will include lunch and two snack items at the time of pick up.

“The lunch is intended for immediate consumption,” the news release said. “Food safety guidance will be distributed with the meals.

The program is for children under the age of 18 and no meals will be sold to adults. To ensure that meals are available and to help reduce waste, participants are asked to call (601)964-3699 between 8-10 a.m. Monday-Friday to request a meal.  Dearman said every effort will be made to provide meals to all children who show up for the program, but those who have not called in advance may have to wait to be served.

There will be no meals offered Friday, April 10 or Monday, April 13 due to Easter Holidays.

“We will continue to monitor the situation and take guidance from the Mississippi Department of Health (MSDH), Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Mississippi Department of Education (MDE),” Dearman added. “For more detailed information, questions or concerns, contact the PCSD Child Nutrition department by phone at (601)964-3699 or vial email at

In an announcement by the Richton School District Tuesday afternoon, Bryan said representatives from the Richton School District will ride bus routes this Friday, March 27, to get a count of the number of meals needed the feeding program. The announcement said that students who are car riders, and for those residences where no one will be home when school officials come by on Friday, will be required to call the district office at (601)788-6581 to request a meal.

“We will need your address and the number of students who attend the schools that will need meals provided,” Bryan said.

The meals will cover lunch for the day of the delivery and breakfast for the following day. School officials will use district buses to deliver the meals beginning Monday, March 30.

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