Millions of school-age children in the U.S. rely on school meals for consistent access to nutritious food. Typically, when schools let out for the summer, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) summer meals programs provide food to children who need assistance during the academic year.
However, last spring the COVID-19 pandemic presented a new problem: After mid-semester disruptions, schools across the country went remote and millions of American students lost access to consistent meals.
So the USDA called the Baylor Collaborative on Hunger and Poverty (BCHP) with an idea: Scale up and expand Meals-to-You to serve rural school districts across the country.
While vaccinations are helping loosen the pandemic’s grip, UPS and BCHP’s partners are gearing up to help during the summer wherever necessary, including rural areas.
In the summer of 2020, UPS was able to bring its logistics expertise and operational capabilities to rapidly expand the program in just six weeks to feed an increasing number of children in rural areas.
Because of help from UPS and other partners like the USDA, PepsiCo Food for Good and Chartwells, BCHP was able to expand a program from serving 4,000 kids to more than 270,000.
For many children in rural areas, whose families often lack transportation to the program’s sites or the grocery story, the meal kits were their only source of food.
UPS and other BCHP partners helped deliver these meals to homes in remote Alaskan towns, children on the islands of Puerto Rico and Hawaii, Native tribes living at the bottom of the Grand Canyon and children from coast to coast.
As the emergency Meals-to-You program closed out at the end of last summer, BCHP and the USDA had provided 38,783,860 meals to 270,488 children in 44 states and Puerto Rico.