Updated: Mar 29, 2020
By: Robin A. Holstein, Mountaineer News Contributor
Posted: March 19, 2020 | 02:22AM EST
Hinterlands of Eastern Kanawha County:
Some friends and I were having a discussion about the decision to close K-12 schools for
several weeks. It was a legitimate discussion. It was not full of accusations, finger pointing, or blame.
I said, “Schools are closed to help prevent children from carrying the COVID-19 virus to others, yet restaurants are offering free food to all the children
Isn’t it defeating the purpose of closing schools if kids, and their families, are congregating
I am not implying kids don’t need food.”
One comment was that many restaurants are suggesting curb-side pickup, using Taco Bell as an example. Another commented that the local school system was fixing food and setting up drop-offs within their districts, some at regular bus stops.
I followed up by asking, “Who is driving the kids, or walking them to the bus stops? Again, I am not trying to say the kids should not be fed. I am wondering if all this is defeating the point of having schools closed.”
I shared with the group a list publicly posted by the Kanawha County Commission on their
Facebook page. There were no comments regarding curbside or drive-thru pickup. In another post, a popular breakfast restaurant in South Charleston invited families to come in to get their children free lunch.
I am very skeptical that people with children will stand in a line for a free lunch and maintain the “social distance” of six feet. Are these restaurants going to put tape on the floor, or reconfigure their interior seating so that no table of guests are within six feet of another table of guests? I doubt it.
If they post a sign that says to pick up the food in a drive-thru line, what happens as the traffic backs up into the street? Will there be police officers directing traffic?
What about food waste? Will the children go to the bus stop at noon to pick up their free school lunch or will they talk mom into driving them to Taco Bell for free tacos? Or both?
Emergency Services throughout the state conduct tabletop exercises in anticipation of disasters, and emergencies of all kinds. In the Kanawha Valley, chemical and industrial accidents that could endanger the valley are all too possible. Surely these exercises include emergency food distribution.
Instead of 100 individual businesses doing their own thing, should there be a central organizing agency coordinating efforts? The Red Cross, and Salvation Army are experts at it. Why not tap into their expertise?
Robin is the owner of Holstein House and Robin’s Desktop.