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WGLT's reporting on the coronavirus pandemic, which began in McLean County in March 2020.

Unit 5 Hits 50,000 Meals Delivered During Coronavirus Shutdown

family coordinator passes out meals
Unit 5
In addition to grab-and-go meals twice a week, Unit 5 is also distributing about 250 emergency food bags to families every two weeks.

Unit 5 has now delivered 50,000 breakfast and lunch meals to its students since schools closed because of the coronavirus.

The Bloomington-Normal school district hit that milestone Wednesday, as it distributed thousands of meals for the rest of this week.

“There’s something just monumental about that,” said Unit 5 spokesperson Dayna Brown.

As teachers have adapted to remote learning, Unit 5's Food Service staff, family coordinators, warehouse employees, drivers, and others have been busy standing up a massive grab-and-go meal operation. There are two distributions every week, on Mondays and Wednesdays. Unit 5 also prepares weekend food bags, and about 250 emergency food bags every two weeks. The United Way of McLean County is also kicking in dinners a few times a week in high-need areas.

Brown praised the creativity of Unit 5’s Food Service staff in preparing high-volume make-your-own pizzas, salads, sandwiches, and wraps.

“They’ve just done so many different things, and that’s just a credit to how amazing our Food Service department is. They really want this to be not only healthy, but something students enjoy. The fact that we’re getting thousands of people coming back each time shows they’re doing a great job with that,” Brown said.

Unit 5 plans to continue meal distributions into the summer, though logistics are still being worked out, Brown said.

“Regardless of what happens with the stay-at-home order, the needs aren’t going to go away immediately. This is going to be a long process, and families are going to have some needs long after things get back to normal,” Brown said. “We’re going to try and do our part for as long as we can.”

District 87, based in Bloomington, is also providing grab-and-go meals twice weekly.

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Ryan Denham is the digital content director for WGLT.
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