Community partners helping feed CPS families

Community kitchens, like Sweets and Meats BBQ in Mt. Washington, are stepping up to cook meals for children

Community partnerships providing meals to CPS students

CINCINNATI (FOX19) - Some Cincinnati Public School families in Mt. Washington are eating well thanks a several community partnerships.

Every Wednesday, CPS distributes meals while students are learning virtually. It’s thanks in part to the community kitchen partnership with non-profit La Soupe. La Soupe collects the donated meat and then sends it to local businesses.

The food distributed to Mount Washington and Sands Montessori is prepared by Sweets and Meats BBQ. The restaurant cooks the food and provides the labor, packaging and sides.

This partnership means something extra to owner Kristen Bailey. She has lived in Mt. Washington for 40 years and says this cause was important to her because she went to these schools herself.

“I come from a single parent home where we had some challenges,” said Bailey. “My sister was handicapped and had cerebral palsy and I know my mom took advantage of resources at the school. So, I know what it’s like as a child to get a fresh, home cooked meal and mom, dad doesn’t have to worry about it. It’s already stressful enough with things being virtual and the stresses of COVID.”

The meals include a meat, starch, vegetable and a drink. The latest meal included wagyu beef, which Bailey says is really high-quality.

“It’s top of the line beef and we were really excited to put that on the smoker,” said Bailey.

In addition to the meals, the families at Sands Montessori were also given a rock painting kit to hide in the neighborhood to inspire others.

“They miss being in the building, they miss their teachers,” said Nikki Marksberry, community coordinator at Sands Montessori. “So for some of them, having a school lunch helps get them in that kind of program and routine a little better.”

From the time schools shut down in March up through the summer, organizers say CPS served about 3,000 meals a week. Now that students are back learning virtually, they are serving about 10,000 meals a week.

Any CPS family can pick up meal packs on Wednesday from 12-4 p.m. at any of the schools. They ask for a limit of six meals per household.

Bailey says La Soupe is looking for other community partners for help prepare meals.

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