By Chris Gregory, Managing Editor

Trousdale County Schools’ effort to feed children during the extended school closure is “going quite well,” officials reported.

In his weekly video message, Director of Schools Clint Satterfield said the district is averaging 350 students served per day.

“The main site is our grab & go site at Trousdale County High School,” Satterfield said, while adding that the five walkup sites “improved during the week.”

The district will continue its feeding program through May 20, it was announced last week.

Chris Gregory / Hartsville Vidette
Volunteers at Trousdale County High School deliver free “grab and go” meals on Monday. This effort will continue each weekday while school is out.

“We only budgeted to pay our people through May 20,” Satterfield said. “Someone would have to help us to make that work… (beyond that).”

One walkup site has been changed, moving from Morrison Street Church of Christ to the West Main Housing Authority.

Beginning May 4, limited deliveries will be made to residences outside the Hartsville city limits to try to reach children who may not be able to get to town to pick up meals.

Food Service personnel were to reach out to those families during this week.

While the school system is proud of its efforts to feed children, Satterfield acknowledged a financial cost to the district. Typically, schools are reimbursed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for each meal distributed. During the school year, that would mean reimbursement for 1,100 to 1,200 students per day. Feeding 350 per day cuts that incoming funding dramatically.

“What is hurting us is our food service budget is dwindling fast,” Satterfield said. “We’re going in the hole every day… We’ve got to get some relief from the state or USDA.”

The food service budget is not part of the regular school budget and is typically self-sustaining. If there is a deficit, the school system has to make up that funding.

Meanwhile, the Backpack Program has shifted into its summer mode, with food boxes distributed each Saturday morning from 9-11 a.m. at the Church of the Firstborn.

An online fundraiser has been set up on the Hartsville Backpack Program Facebook page and has raised around $1,500.

The Backpack Program has also received a donated refrigerator and is seeking to obtain a freezer to allow for perishable goods to be distributed as well.

“We’re going to keep on all the way through the summer now,” said Kathy Atwood, Coordinated School Health supervisor. “We want to expand the program to cover perishables for children.”

School registration: Pre-K and kindergarten registration dates have been set for the 2020-21 school year.

Pre-K signups will be May 4-22, with kindergarten signups from May 18-June 30.

Applications will be available online at tcschools.org and can be mailed to families as well. Call 615-374-2193 for more information.

The school system has also set a pickup date for medication that may have been left by children before the schools closed. That date will be Monday, May 4 from 8 a.m.-3 p.m. at the middle and high schools and from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. at the elementary school (Sam Beasley Road entrance). Any medications not picked up will be destroyed.

Reach Chris Gregory at 615-374-3556 or [email protected]