With schools closed and moved to online learning amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the five Howard County school corporations are each finding ways to get meals to the students who, up until this week, were roaming hallways and filling classrooms.
Teachers and staff were manning Kokomo School Corporation’s three food stations Wednesday. Central, Bon Air and Maple Crest Middle schools all gave away food from 9 a.m.-noon, and will continue to do so each Wednesday students would normally be in school.
The food services team at KSC was able to put together 1,500 meal packages consisting of 15,000 meals together for Wednesday’s distribution.
Each student will receive a package with five breakfasts and five lunches when picking up the food.
“We want to make sure our families are taken care of. Some of our families who rely on school as a source of food … we want to make sure they’re taken care of and that they’re still having access to quality food,” said Central Middle School Principal Holly Herrera.
Any student in Howard County is eligible to receive food from the three KSC locations, and students do not need to be present for the meals to be picked up.
Academic facilitator Chantel Sullivan said that for Kokomo teachers volunteering, this is not just a chance to help but a chance to see their students during the closure. Some students we even able to ask clarification questions to their teachers who were volunteering.
Taylor School Corporation set up a food reception location at Taylor Elementary School Wednesday, which will run each week from 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Each student receives five lunches and breakfasts, and those in line could receive multiple packages if they were picking up for multiple students.
“It’s great. A lot of families don’t have that supplement and weren’t expecting all these kids to be home,” Christina Sharp said while waiting to pick up food for five kids.
According to TES Principal Matt Nuttall the original 200 meals prepared were handed out within the first 10 minutes and volunteers worked to make 200 or more meals as more people showed up.
Nuttall said the kitchen staff, led by Paula Bolin, has been putting all their effort into making sure food is ready for students.
Buddy Bags are also still being sent out weekly. On Fridays, bus drivers will run their regular afternoon routes while dropping off the bags at the students’ normal bus stops.
“Another thing that’s so great about this is it definitely gives an opportunity for our bus drivers to still work and get paid,” Nuttall said.
Northwestern School Corporation Director of Operations Jeff Layden said the corporation website is where families can request food assistance
There is a link on the corporation home page where families can sign up for lunches. Each day school buses will be bringing lunches door-to-door to those who signed up for the needed food.
There are also buses parked at Howard Elementary and Northwestern Middle School for families to drive up to and pick up lunches.
Currently, there are no plans to deliver food over spring break.
Western schoolsWestern Superintendent Randy McCracken, along with assistant superintendent Mark DuBois and others, spent time Wednesday going around and delivering hot pizza lunches to students.
“We plan on doing that daily until our spring break and the two weeks after spring break as well,” he said.
Those who need food support can visit Western’s website, click on “Parent information” and then click the link under “How can I get food support?” or call 765-883-1462.
Families at Eastern Howard School Corporation were told in a letter from Eastern Superintendent Keith Richie that if a student would need a school lunch, breakfast or hard copy of work, they should contact the main office before 10 a.m. to indicate the request.
For families living within the district, a bus and school staff member will deliver a lunch for that day, breakfast for the next day, and/or a hard copy of work to their house. Deliveries will begin at 11 a.m. and will occur daily.
Eastern families living outside of the district who make a request will be able to pick their items up at the Kokomo bus stop at 11:30 p.m. at Grace Community Foursquare Church on the corner of Boulevard Street and Goyer Road.