By Jessie Wagoner
McPHERSON—When most people hear Buhler and McPherson in the same sentence, they usually think of the two as rivals, fiercely competing on the field. However, when the two are off the field, they share a common goal: meeting the needs of students.
Buhler High School recently found itself in a bind when their kitchen staff was quarantined. No kitchen staff when you have a school full of hungry students and staff could be a real crisis. Fortunately, McPherson was willing to lend a helping hand and deliver meals.
“Their kitchen staff is quarantined, and they need a little bit of help,” Bill Froese, director of transportation and food service for USD 418, said. “We are running skeleton kitchens the way it is, but we knew we needed to help. You never know when we might need the favor to be returned.”
With COVID-19 case numbers rising in communities throughout the state, it takes organizations working together to ensure needs are met.
“The best way I’ve heard it explained was on Facebook when they said, ‘rivals on the field but partners in education,’” Froese said. “We are partner,s and we want the best for all of our students. It is by the grace of the good Lord and good staff we are able to make it happen.”
McPherson students will transition to remote learning following Thanksgiving. While students will not be attending school in person, there will still be free lunches and breakfasts provided by the district. Froese says meals will be offered at three locations: McPherson High School, McPherson Middle School and Roosevelt Elementary School.
“We tried to spread the locations out throughout town so everyone can take advantage,” Froese said. “All the meals are free for anyone between the ages of one and 18.”
Breakfast will look similar to what has been served since the pandemic began. Froese says they are going to try to provide a full lunch menu, offering more variety than what was offered when the pandemic began. Meals will be served from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. During the first visit, parents are asked to bring all children in the household. They will be issued a placard indicating how many meals they need. On subsequent visits, parents do not have to bring all the children with them; they simple need to have the placard displayed in their window, and they can pick up meals.
“We wouldn’t be able to do this without the flexibility from the federal and state government,” Froese said. “The Trump Administration agreed to extend the funding to make this possible.”