Jackson Public Schools PIE - Pandemic Partnership Response

In the Spring of 2020, our world faced an unprecedented pandemic: COVID-19. Life as we knew it changed. Schools, businesses shuttered. Families’ loss income. Basic supplies such as food, water and toiletries became scarce and difficult to find. No one was spared its impact. However, our focus remained on JPS children and families. Overnight, the children and families we support no longer had the routine of spending 6-8 hours in school buildings. For many, this meant losing daily breakfast and lunch, in the midst of income and supply shortages.

To meet the social and emotional needs of our families, Partners in Education, in partnership with our office of Child Nutrition, created the JPS Food Distribution Plan. Another factor in providing support was an issue of food safety. In an effort to avoid a potential spread of COVID-19, it was imperative of us to locate a food vendor to safely contribute to this initiative. After an intense search for a food distributor, Footprint Farms was selected due to their ability to grow, harvest, package and deliver the fresh produce with consistent staff members.

Three distinct programs were developed as a part of JPS Food Distribution Plan to offer nutritional support to our scholars and their families. Dinner meals and produce distributions were offered March 26-May 21, 2020. As a result of generous donations from our community partners, which totaled over $118,000, we provided more than 32,000 pounds of fresh, locally grown produce and over 18,000 nutritious dinner meals to our scholars and their families during extended school closures as a result of COVID-19. Members of the MS Food Corps provided site supervisors at each location for the entire 11- week distribution. Their expertise was instrumental in a smooth operation.

These distributions were offered at Bates Elementary (South Jackson), Galloway Elementary (Central Jackson) and Chastain Middle School (North Jackson) to ensure equitable access to Jackson Public School District families. These distributions were made possible by donations 42 community organizations and/or individuals. Additionally, 111 volunteers and roughly 75 JPS employees assisted with preparing, packing and distributing meals and traffic control, across the three school sites.

In addition to our weekly distribution of dinner meals and produce packages, Atmos Energy donated $9,200 to the MS Food Network for JPS children to receive 1,200 bags of supplemental nutritious and easy-to-prepare foods over the weekends. On Saturday, March 21, the Mississippi Food Network distributed 400 family food boxes with shelf-stable pantry items, and fresh and frozen foods at Peeples Middle School. These boxes provided a family of 4–5 with enough supplemental meals to last for several days. This donation was valued at $7,200.

Donations received to fund these three components of the JPS Food Distribution Plan totaled $134,400.


Community Partners:

Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Alpha Epsilon Lambda Chapter
Atmos Energy
Atty. Carlyn Hicks
Capital Area Sunset Rotary Club
Central MS Hub for volunteers and Non-Profits
Century First Federal Credit Union
Christ United Methodist Church
Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
DSC Workforce Development Corporation
Eagle Express Federal Credit Union
Eaton Aerospace
First Presbyterian Church
Fondren Presbyterian
Jackson Area Federal Credit Union
Jackson Foodies
Junior League of Jackson
Lanier High School Alumni Association
Lawrence and Stephanie Morrisey
Loraine Bishop
Magnolia Federal Credit Union
Members Exchange Credit Union
Mississippi DHS Federal Credit Union
Mississippi Federal Credit Union
Mount Charity MB Church
Mount Nebo Baptist Church
MS Food Corps
MS Food Network
Operation Shoestring
Phi Beta Sigma, Mu Beta Chapter
Rivertrust Federal Credit Union
Rotary Club of Jackson Mississippi
Steven James Insurance Agency
Systems Company Teams
Trustmark National Bank
United Way of the Capital Area
Word of Life Church
Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Alpha Delta Zeta Chapter