March 25, 2020
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: COVID-19 Burke County Media Briefing
Burke County’s Response to COVID-19
• The health department has tested approximately 73individuals with continual daily testing as testing materials are available
• Of those 73, 59 results have been received and 57 negative and 2 positive cases
• Public information line has been opened Monday through Friday, 8am – 5pm for those with questions can call 828-764-9388.
• After hours, general questions can be directed to NC Public Information Line at 1-866-462-3821
Update from Burke County Public Schools:
The Good Kitchen is donating more than 25,000 kids’ meals to Burke County Public Schools. The school system will give out the meals starting on Friday as part of the food distribution program taking place while schools are closed due to coronavirus (COVID-19).
The donation came about as a result of a partnership between The Good Kitchen, based in Charlotte, and American Food Service, based in Morganton, and owned and operated by Charlie and Chasity Rice.
American Food Service produces and packages meals for adults for The Good Kitchen, and the Rice’s are familiar with The Good Kitchen’s line of healthy, organic meals for children, both of which are sold in Walmart stores.
Chasity Rice said when she heard The Good Kitchen was looking to donate meals to students while they are out of school, she jumped at the chance to get the meals headed to Burke County. She and Daniel Wall, child nutrition director for Burke County Public Schools, have been working on the logistics of getting the meals shipped here and into the hands of children. Kellex, Global Transportation Services and Tarheel Logistics have all had a part in the shipment.
The truck with the 25,000-plus meals is expected to arrive in Burke County on Thursday, and the meals will be handed out on Friday at the eight school food distribution sites and many bus stop locations offering meals.
Wall explained that on Friday, students will receive six meals total - three breakfasts and three lunches --for Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The school sites will not be open this weekend for meal pick up.
Wall said, “We are very grateful for this donation from The Good Kitchen and for the Rice’s and their work in getting it here. Not only does this get good, healthy meals to kids who need it, but it also gives our amazing child nutrition staff a chance to pause. They have been working non-stop over the last two weeks planning, preparing and distributing thousands of meals to our students. Having the weekend off will give them a chance to recharge and reset and get ready to pick back up on Monday.”
Burke County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Larry Putnam said, “This is another great example of our community coming together to meet basic needs in times of a crisis. I am thankful for the connections, partnerships and friendships that make donations such as this possible. I have known the Rice’s for years. The fact that they had this connection with The Good Kitchen, a passion for this community and our students, and the heart to bring those connections together means families of young children have a few less meals to worry about this weekend.”
Chasity Rice said, “We saw this as an opportunity to be able to connect The Good Kitchen with Burke County Public Schools and bring these meals here in these uncharted times. I am proud of the school system and Dr. Putnam’s leadership and all of the employees and volunteers who have stepped up to help during this time. The teachers are checking in on the kids, and the district is organizing food distribution and offering childcare. I can’t applaud them enough for taking care of our kids. I am happy to be able to connect these dots. Isn’t that what we are supposed to do -- to help each other?” “We are incredibly grateful to be in a position to donate meals during this unprecedented pandemic," said Amber Lewis, Founder of Charlotte-born The Good Kitchen. "We are so thankful for Burke County Public Schools and their ability to execute the distribution of these meals in our home state. So many people are flocking to the grocery store and cooking at home, but those in food insecure areas do not have this luxury. Being able to provide a meal that is healthy and well balanced to children is more important than ever.”
The meals, which retail for $4.95, come frozen and with instruction on heating them. They can be kept frozen for a year or refrigerated for seven days. They include a protein (such as meatballs or chicken nuggets), a vegetable and a brownie. Chasity Rice said she has tried all of the meals and likes them. She has a tip for heating the meals. She said, “Take the brownie out before heating so it doesn’t burn.”