Food service crews working overtime to get students fed

Published: Mar. 25, 2020 at 5:04 PM EDT
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(3/25/2020) - Since the beginning of the school shutdown, district employees and volunteers have prioritized food distribution sites in their communities. They want to make sure no child goes hungry.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced Wednesday, her "Stay Home, Stay Safe" order will not end the critical service.

One man in Genesee County is going out of his way to provide 8,000 a day in Flint.

Wednesday, he set up an extra site at the Evergreen Regency Apartments that wasn't initially on the list.

But, Michael Williams said his team behind the operation knew they'd be able to feed a lot of kids there.

"It's tiring, but it's amazing just to get that gratification of seeing everyone's faces and thanks to get the meals," the Sodexo Magic food service director and general manager said.

Williams explained that they're used to serving around 4-5,000 meals a day, working with a staff of 70 people. But, right now, they're on the road handing out close to 8,000 meals a day. And they're working with half the amount of help.

"We're not just feeding the kids from our school district, we're feeding the City of Flint's kids," Williams said. "So, even if they're going to some charter schools, charter schools might not be supplying the foods and stuff, so they're coming to us which is more than okay."

Williams said the 35 employees are working 12 to 14 hour days, including weekends to make sure everyone is fed.

And yes, he's on the ground, making sure everything goes smoothly.

"I'm not just one of those directors that leads from office," Williams explained. "I lead by example and I'm hands-on making sandwiches packing lunches, driving buses, I mean driving vans to locations replenishing wherever needs help."

And, those benefiting for his generosity are grateful.

"It's a blessing. Nobody is helping us out but them," one father of four said.

He added it makes all the difference that the team literally came to where the need was.

"It means a lot because I don't got transportation," he said.

Meaning, his kids wouldn't have gotten a meal without this extra effort.

"We're going to keep going as long as they need us," Williams added.

To find a food distribution site near you, click on the 'Related Links' section of this story.