Coretta Scott King said, “the greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members.” As schools and businesses across the country close, communities are jumping into action to make sure the needs of their neighbors are met.
On behalf of your New England farmers and our organization, we recognize and appreciate the many school foodservice personnel and community members working hard across our region to make sure students continue to receive nutritious meals. Here are some highlights from school meal programs in New England.
Hartford Public Schools is distributing meals at 16 locations on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM. On Mondays and Wednesdays, students receive two days’ worth of meals, and on Fridays they receive three days’ worth. Meals are frozen with heating instructions in both English and Spanish. On Friday March 27th, Hartford School Nutrition Director Lonnie Burt reported they had already served almost 50,000 meals to over 8,000 students. Thank you to our State Agency partners at the Departments of Education for making that possible!
Norwalk Public Schools and their food service provider Chartwells are providing free daily breakfast and lunch delivery to all students in the district. To help limit exposure and promote social distancing, meals are delivered via school bus. People can also pick up meals outside of the school they attend. During their first day of meal service on March 16th, members of the Norwalk Police Department assisted in distributing over 2,000 meals. The district donates any leftover perishable items to Person-to-Person, a local nonprofit providing individuals and families with assistance for basic needs.
Project Bread is working alongside volunteers from Boston Cares and YMCA of Greater Boston to provide free meals and Chromebooks for students in need. Access to technology is critical for students as they transition to remote learning.
As @bostonschools have temporarily closed, efforts by incredible volunteers with the help of @bostoncares @projectbread @YMCA_Boston have ramped up. We’re providing meals and Chromebooks for students in need. #ittakesavillage to beat #covid19 pic.twitter.com/dxJUM5cGi8
— City of Boston (@CityOfBoston) March 23, 2020
Grab and go meals are being handed out at 10 locations from 11:30 AM to 1 PM every weekday. Four of those sites will give out two additional breakfasts and lunches on Friday, so children have meals over the weekend. In addition to the breakfast and lunch options available through the district, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Metro South are offering grab-and-go dinners at their Brockton Clubhouse from 4:30 PM to 5:30 PM each weekday until their clubs resume regular operations.
Chicopee FRESH, the district’s food service program, and director Melanie Wilk have been packing free grab and go breakfasts and lunches that students can pick up Monday through Friday. They’re even teaching students how to stay healthy indoors by sharing videos, including a tutorial from a FoodCorps service member showing students how to make a nutritious Berry Good Smoothie at home.
Springfield Public Schools food service provider, Sodexo, is providing free grab and go breakfasts and lunches Monday through Friday, with additional meals included on Friday for weekend meals. Parents, guardians, and grandparents may pick up meals for school age children in their care at any of the 15 sites across the city. Check out their free meal map to find a serving location near you.
Using grant funds awarded during our 2019 Dairy Farmer Innovation Challenge with Fuel Up to Play 60, Southside Middle School in Manchester, NH purchased insulated cooler tote bags to support their second chance breakfast program.
As students have transitioned to remote learning, the school food service is distributing meals along the regular bus routes by school bus. Kitchen staff, teachers, administrators, and support staff all work together to serve 10,000 meals and counting as service continues through the closures.
Cranston Public Schools has six meal sites open rain or shine, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday to anyone under 18 needing a meal, even if they are not a Cranston resident.
North Kingstown, RI
North Kingstown School Department is offering a weekly five-day menu plan providing breakfast, lunch, and snacks to the children of all families as a one-stop weekly pick up. Parents receive a package of a weeks’ worth of nutritious food for their children without even getting out of their car. Any households who are unable to pick up the five-day menu plan can still pick up single meals Monday through Friday.
Pawtucket Public Schools are offering free grab and go breakfast and lunch meals for all students Monday through Friday. They even had local celebrity Paws the Polar Bear from the Pawtucket PawSox handing out meals.
Colchester School District is using buses to deliver meals to students and their families. The district also set up five pop up locations where families can pick up food if they are not along one of the bus routes.