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VPSB 'going back to the drawing board' on meal distribution after long waits, site closure

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Posted at 6:08 PM, Apr 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-01 19:37:54-04

MAURICE, La. — The Vermilion Parish School System is "going back to the drawing board" on its plan to distribute meal boxes to students during the upcoming break after long waits and a site closure Thursday afternoon.

The board announced this week it is partnering with Focus Foods to provide meals to students during distributions scheduled for the next few weeks. The first boxes were handed out Wednesday afternoon.

KATC learned that the distribution at Cecil Picard Elementary in Maurice was shut down by the Maurice Police Department, according to the school board. Superintendent Tommy Byler apologized to parents for the "pick up line fiasco," adding that there was an "extreme increase of people signing up late and we didn't anticipate the amount of pick up right at four."

The distribution site was opened a short time later, and Byler told parents the district will have a plan worked out in the future.

To our Vermilion residents
The Focus Food program is in place in multiple parishes in the state and is a great program. We used their guidance on setting up the event. It is obvious there was a great miscalculation on the desire and need for this program as witnessed by the great turnout.
We will go back to the drawing board on distribution, signing up, and walk up sign in. As frustrated as many of you are know that I am equally as frustrated at its struggle today. This is a program our kids and families need and we will find a way to fix before the next distribution.
Name calling, blasting organization and giving up on it benefits no one.
We will fix it the issue. Working with Focus Foods as we speak to fix for the future.

Boxes include a 10-day supply of meals, with a combination of frozen food and prepackaged items, snacks, and supper meals. The meals are available for all children 18 years of age and under, including students attending face-to-face school, virtual students, private schools, homeschool students, and siblings at home.

Focus Foods says the program is to help students out during the holiday when they're not in school to receive a meal.

"It feels awesome," said executive Neil Ashby. "People are enjoying what we're bringing them."

To receive a box, parents will need to register online at focusfoods.formstack.com or at a walk-up distribution site. Registration is required each week.

Subsequent pick-up days will take place on Sundays: April 11, April 18, April 25, May 2, May 9, May 16, May 23, and May 30. Pick up will be from 10:30 a.m. - 1 p.m. on those dates. Distribution sites include J. H. Williams Middle, Cecil Picard Elementary, Kaplan High, and Erath High/Middle.

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