The second schools let out, more than 30 million kids across the country lost access to a healthy lunch every day. For some of these children, this was the only time they would eat that day. Programs were in place to keep them fed over the summer, but no one was prepared for closing schools two months early.
School districts had to adapt — fast. Huntsville City Schools devised a way to get food to the kids by having a curbside pickup every day. Every weekday from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. during the week of March 23 through 27, students can go to one of four locations to get a free meal.
The locations are:
- Lee High School
- Lakewood Elementary
- Morris Elementary/Middle
- Chaffee Elementary.
There are also two school buses traveling around the city handing out lunches. You can find those from 11 a.m. to noon at the following locations:
- Cherokee Bend Apartments at 4177 Newsome Road
- Edmonton Heights neighborhood
The school district is looking for volunteers to keep the program going. You can find out more about volunteering and donating at this website.
After March 27, students can go to Hope Community Church on Pulaski Pike for meals through April 3.
Meanwhile, other counties are working just as hard to make sure their kids stay healthy. In Marshall County, school resource officers are working with the Sacks of Love program to hand out bags of food to children.
Sacks of Love provides sustenance for more than 150 kids in the county, and the food is provided by area churches and nonprofits.
“It’s great, they recognized the school resource officers and we get to visit them at their house that’s always a good situation and they see us when we get out of the car and the come and give us a big hello,” said one school resource officer.
Then, in South Alabama, it’s the restaurant owners who are getting creative to keep kids fed. Joe Cook, a hibachi chef in Dothan, grew up in Cambodia and remembers what it was like to go hungry. When he found out the schools were closing, he decided to use his days off to prepare hibachi chicken and fried rice in single-serve containers to hand out to neighborhood chicken.
“As a refugee kid in Cambodia, Thailand, border, I was hungry,” Joe said. “These people bring me a box of rice, and there’s a little meat in there. … It tasted so good to me when I was a kid. That filled me up.”
If you know of any other programs providing food to kids during the COVID-19 outbreak, tell us in the comments or email [email protected].