Dundee delivering meals via school bus

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DUNDEE, Mich. (WTVG) -- UPDATE: Due to the "Stay Home, Stay Safe" order by the State of Michigan, Dundee will not deliver meals from March 23 - April 12, 2020, and possibly longer. Instead, parents are encouraged to contact the school district and request meals for their children. Parents and students can then pick up the breakfasts and lunches on Tuesdays and Fridays from 9:00 AM - 11:00 AM in front of the Dundee High School until further notice.

Keeping kids fed while they're staying home during the COVID-19 response is the goal of school districts across our area.

One district is not just going the extra mile, it's going the extra 73 square miles by using school buses to deliver meals to hundreds of students.

"We know that if we weren't able to deliver these meals, some of our students would not have food," said Edward Manuszak, the Superintendent of Dundee Community Schools.

Even with no kids on board, the yellow buses of Dundee Community Schools are still rolling.

Call it a school bus version of mobile meals.

They're delivering lunches and breakfasts for the following morning by making all the normal stops and dropping them off. The service is open to all 1,800 students, ages 18 and younger, in the district.

Superintendent Manuszak explained the district will be reimbursed through the funding package by the federal government, which is dished out by the state of Michigan.

"Everyone has a specific task," said Shelly Farris, Director of Dundee Food Service, which is run by the company Chartwells. "Between everyone, it comes together and we're able to prepare all these nutritious and healthy meals for the kids and students in the area."

"We are their sense of normal now out there for the kids," explained Gina Cress, Dundee Transportation Director who works with Auxilio Services. "They get to see their driver. They've done virtual high-fives. We can't let them come on and hug us, but they get really excited to see their drivers."

Monday, Dundee delivered 788 meals to 389 students. Tuesday, it was up to 1,127 meals. By Wednesday, staff prepared to serve 1,200 to 1,300 meals.

"From our standpoint, we are really about making sure we are meeting the needs of our students," continued Manuszak. "As long as we can continue to do this, we will."

Dundee has a similar service over the Summer called the "Meet Up to Eat Up" program. If school remains closed, Manuszak said meal deliveries will continue to the end of the 2019-2020 school year and beyond.