Photo shows an example of a grab-and-go school meal made available to students since pandemic

12 million school meals served since March 2020

March 23, 2021 – More than 12 million school meals have been served to Duval County Public Schools students since last March, underscoring a deep commitment to keeping children fed amid the unpredictable pandemic.

Since schools shut down last March, the school district and its food service partner, Chartwells K12, worked together to ensure children across the county do not go hungry. The efforts to safely feed students and families include:

  • Free breakfast and lunch for any student, ages 5-18 since March 2020.
  • Greater access to meals by setting up curbside service outside schools.
  • Meal drop-offs at bus stops across the district last spring.
  • Extensive COVID-19 safety training for food service staff in addition to the regular food safety training.

Leaders credit the more than 917 essential food service workers throughout the district who work tirelessly to safely prep, cook, pack, and distribute thousands of meals each day.

“I don’t think any of us knew quite what to expect when schools shut down last year,” said Food Services Director Jane Zentko. “While it’s been difficult, the silver lining of this pandemic is that it showed us what an incredible community we have here. Our teachers, staff, parents, and food service team, came together and focused on feeding kids and supporting our community.”

“Our number one priority is making sure we are feeding kids and keeping them happy and healthy, no matter where they are,” said Jane Buttermore, vice president of operations at Chartwells K12. “as more students return to school, we’re prepared to serve them safely, and for those who continue to learn virtually via Duval HomeRoom, they can depend on us for their next meal.”

For more information about school meals and food service, visit

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