Floyd County Schools Child Nutrition Department has now helped move over 30 tons of food through their meal programs and their monthly pop-up food markets since the pandemic started back in March.

According to Stephanie McElhone, who works with FCS as one of the directors of the Rome-Floyd YMCA’s meal program, that’s a little over the weight of the Statue of Liberty.

Late Wednesday afternoon, McElhone and volunteers from FCS, YMCA, Rome Action Ministries and a couple of Berry College Bonner Scholarship students prepared boxes of meals as part of the September pop-up food market. Around 400 boxes of food were given to families lining up to pick up a box at the Coosa Valley Fairgrounds.

They had a little more trouble than usual this month, since they weren’t provided a forklift to lift the pallets with heavy Farmers to Families food boxes sitting on the back of the truck.

The volunteers had to improvise and, instead, used a pickup truck and a chain to slowly move the pallets down the ramp. A volunteer would then get a dolly and wheel it back over to the other groups of volunteers preparing the rest of the food.

Each box had around 50 pounds of food, including fresh produce, a gallon of milk, six bags of rice, chicken and bread.

During the early part of the pandemic, FCS gave out around 800 boxes of food a month, but that has now gone down to about 400 boxes a month.

While the groups have been working to help food insecure kids around the area for the last eight years, McElhone said, they’ve really come together to help people during the pandemic.

“When the pandemic hit, we went from providing 2,000 meals a month to kids and families to 20,000 meals,” McElhone said.

One of the more recent challenges they’ve had to work with is setting up grab and go meals for kids who are quarantining or doing virtual learning from their homes. The families have the option to pick up the meals at the YMCA or at the school itself.

The pop-up market is for anyone that might be food insecure, not just FCS students and families. They plan to continue the monthly pop-ups for the foreseeable future.

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