Topeka Public Schools will soon begin providing meals for Meals on Wheels. The TPS Board of Education last night (April 21) approved a contract to provide meals for Meals on Wheels. TPS Executive Director of Operations Larry Robbins said, “We welcome the opportunity to forge this kind of relationship with an organization so well respected as Meals on Wheels.”
Meals on Wheels deliver approximately 500 meals each weekday to homebound individuals in Shawnee and Jefferson Counties. The meals are delivered by volunteers. Meals on Wheels provide another 500 meals to senior citizens at its Friendship Dining Centers.
“The collaboration between the school district and Meals on Wheels is almost a natural in many respects,” said Jane Metzger, President/CEO of Meals on Wheels. “When you look at the regulations that the school district has to follow for meeting the quality of meals for students, they are very similar to what we have to do for seniors.”
Topeka Public Schools will prepare the food at the kitchen at Topeka West High School. Meals on Wheels will pick up the meals at TWHS for dissemination. Metzger doesn’t anticipate any kind of disruption to the current volunteer schedule. Robbins doesn’t see any problems providing additional meals in the Topeka West kitchen. “There was an evaluation process by Topeka Public Schools to ensure we had the capacity to handle the volume of meals that’s required by Meals on Wheels, but to also ensure it would not disrupt our primary goal of providing nutritional meals for our students at Topeka West.”
The partnership will allow Topeka Public Schools to renovate a kitchen in one of the buildings at the Kanza Science and Education Park. After it is finished, food for Meals on Wheels will be prepared at the new kitchen as well as meals for students at nearby Capital City Schools. “The fact that this kitchen, while in an older building, will be a remodeled kitchen, it is large and has the capacity to serve a large number of meals,” said Metzger.
Topeka Public Schools serves an average of 4,400 breakfast and 10,000 lunch meals a day to students and staff in the school district from 12 production kitchens. The school district also provides 500 meals a day to students at Christ the King, The Holy Family and Topeka Lutheran Schools.