School’s out, but students continue to get fed despite COVID-19 outbreak

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MADISON COUNTY, Ala. – School districts are working to make sure students who need meals have them – despite school being out because of the COVID-19 coronavirus.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced schools can continue offering meals during the closures.

The “Grab and Go” program in Madison County is helping students who may not otherwise get meals.

All Alabama K-12 schools are closed for the next few weeks, but schools are doing what they can to make sure students continue to get fed.

Grab-n-go

“We usually keep all of our kitchens well stocked,” Madison County Schools Child Nutrition Program Manager Teresa Miller. “If there’s something I don’t have here, we’re pulling from all the schools in our area so that we make sure we have plenty of everything.”

Madison County Schools started its free, grab and go meal assistance program for district students 18 and under. It’s like a drive -thru service. Riverton Elementary is one of six county schools helping out.

Madison County Schools spokesman Tim Hall said at least 714 kids were given free meals Monday. Riverton teachers educate about 540 students. They provide about 130 breakfast meals and over 300 lunches throughout the school year.

“We are centrally located; that’s why we got chosen, so everybody would be easy for them to come here,” said Miller.

Riverton Elementary School will continue serving lunches to kids in the community through at least the end of spring break. Each day, kids will get lunch and breakfast for the next day.

Update on what teachers are doing

“Students are not required to do e-learning activities at this point,” said Riverton Principal Haley James. “We’re not taking grades, we’re not introducing new material, but all of the schools are working together to push out things that parents can do with their children at home.”

Right now – the school is working on a schedule to sanitize the building, and there’s no telling how many kids the school expects to feed.

“We have no idea because we have never did this before,” said Miller.

So Monday was a trial run to better count the cold and hot meals they need to prepare. Madison and Huntsville City Schools rolled out similar grab-and-go meal programs Monday as well.

Free meals through Madison County Schools

Madison County Schools posted this update on its website:

Madison County School System students will have access to free lunch and breakfast Monday-Friday until April 3, including our scheduled Spring Break.

Beginning Monday, March 16th, 11 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., MCSS Child Nutrition Services will be distributing meals to students at six drive-thru locations. Cafeterias will not be open, this is “Grab-n-Go” service only. Each meal will contain one lunch and one breakfast for the following day. NOTE: Students must be in the vehicle to receive a meal.

Please see maps for designate pick-up areas at each of these schools.
Buckhorn Family– Riverton Elementary 
Hazel Green Family– Hazel Green Elementary
Madison Co HS Family– Madison County Elementary
New Hope Family– New Hope Elementary
Sparkman Family– Harvest Elementary and Madison Cross Roads Elementary

Free meals through Madison City Schools

Madison City Schools posted this update on its website:

Everyone,

We know with the quick closing of schools that there may be some anxieties among some students about meals.

I would like to share with you our plan to help provide lunch today to students.
Our Transportation Department and Child Nutrition Program worked out a distribution system to deliver meals on buses into neighborhoods. This is a temporary plan to get us through today. I will update you on changes going forward.

Our CNP staff prepared several thousand grab-n-go lunches that were loaded on a refrigerated truck and taken to the bus depot for delivery into neighborhoods. Buses will cover Triana and Madison routes.

Staff members from CNP as well Central Office will be onboard buses to help with the distribution from coolers. Drivers will make stops throughout Madison and Triana between 12:15 and 2:00 today. Please be mindful that these meals are intended for our students at no cost.   

Triana arrivals are expected to begin around 12:30. Madison arrivals will start close to 12:15 and continue incrementally as the buses make their circulation. Please bear with us as we cannot give a more precise time under the constantly changing guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

Drivers will be rolling slower and making intermittent stops. At multi-family dwellings, buses will stop at the leasing offices.

Free meals through Huntsville City Schools

Huntsville City Schools posted this update on its website:

In order to continue to support the well-being of our students, Huntsville City Schools began providing free lunch service today from 10:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. at all school locations.

Beginning tomorrow, March 17th through Friday, March 27th, free lunch service will be offered at the following locations between 10:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Participating School Sites:

  1. Lee High School – 2500 Meridian St., Huntsville, AL 35811
  2. Lakewood Elem. – 3501 Kenwood Dr., Huntsville, AL 35810
  3. Morris Elem/Middle – 4801 Bob Wallace Rd., Huntsville, AL 35805
  4. Dawson Elem. – 5308 Mastin Lake Rd., Huntsville, AL 35810
  5. Chaffee Elem. – 7900 Whittier Rd, Huntsville, AL 35802
  6. Highlands Elem. – 2500 Barney Terrace, Huntsville, AL 35810
  7. Sonnie Hereford Elem. – 2755 Wilson St., Huntsville, AL 35816
  8. McDonnell Elem. – 4010 Binderton Pl., Huntsville, AL 35805

At each of these sites, the HCS Child Nutrition Program team will provide free Grab N’ Go lunches for all youth, ages 18 years and under.  This program is offered at no cost to all youth in our community.

We like to think of this as a drive-thru meal service to make it convenient for our families.  Walk-up participants are also welcomed.  There will be a separate meal station for the walk up service.

We do want to remind our community that our school buildings will be closed beginning Tuesday, March 17th through Friday, April 3rd.

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