Mid-valley school districts have announced a number of new places for kids to pick up free meals while the novel coronavirus outbreak keeps classrooms shuttered.
Starting Wednesday, Greater Albany Public Schools will hand out breakfast and lunch bags to any young person from 1 to 18 years old at Albany Meadows Apartments and the Columbus Greens, Lake Creek Ranch and Three Lakes Estates mobile home parks in addition to 13 other locations already offering the service.
“Our services are considered essential,” said school district spokesman Andrew Tomsky. “We’re trying to hit as many spots as possible.”
Every weekday — regardless of spring break or other days off on the school calendar — volunteers and school nutrition staff will be handing out pre-packaged food. Kids can pick up both breakfast and lunch if they want to.
The packs, Tomsky said, generally include what students would get on a regular school day and are designed to be “healthy and nutritional.”
Mom and dad can’t come on their own — kids have to be present to get their meals, Tomsky said. But they don’t have to be enrolled in Albany schools to get food.
The program is meant to support students who would otherwise rely on free or reduced-price lunches at school. The district is keeping count of how many meals it’s handing out, but not necessarily identifying who’s who.
Those interested in volunteering at one of the meal pick-up spots can email email@example.com for more information. The service will continue for as long as the schools are closed. So far, that’s scheduled to be until April 28.
Tomsky said the district has seen a steadily increasing number of people picking up free meals, and “we’re happy to provide our services.”
Here’s the full list of Albany meal pick-up times and locations:
• 11:00 - 11:30 a.m. — Columbus Greens
• 11:00 - 11:30 a.m. — Oak Elementary School
• 11:00 - 11:30 a.m. — Memorial Middle School
• 11:00 - 11:30 a.m. — Tangent Elementary School
• 11:15 - 11:45 a.m. — Lafayette Elementary School
• 11:15 - 11:45 a.m. — Lake Creek Ranch
• 11:20 - 11:50 a.m. — Waverly Elementary School
• 11:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. — Albany Meadows
• 11:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. — Sunrise Elementary School
• 11:40 a.m. - 12:10 p.m. — South Shore Elementary School
• 11:40 a.m. - 12:10 p.m. — Periwinkle Elementary School
• 11:45 a.m. - 12:15 p.m. — Takena Elementary School
• 11:45 a.m. - 12:15 p.m. — Albany Boys and Girls Club
• 12:00 - 12:30 p.m. — Lexington Park
• 12:00 - 12:30 p.m. — South Albany High School
• 12:00 - 12:30 p.m. — Mid-Willamette Valley YMCA
• 12:00 - 12:30 p.m. — Three Lakes Estates
The Corvallis School District will continue to offer grab-and-go meals from noon to 1 p.m. Monday-Friday at Garfield, Lincoln and Wilson elementary schools.
The food is provided through the federally funded Summer Food Service Program. It reimburses the school district for serving free meals in low-income areas, according to district spokeswoman Brenda Downum.
“Our student support staff are reaching out to the families who we know are at greatest risk for food insecurity,” Downum said.
The same rule applies: Kids must be present to get their meals. Downum said “social distancing best practices” will be used when handing out the packages.
Lebanon, Lacomb, Philomath, Sodaville, Sweet Home and Waterloo
Lebanon High School and Green Acres have volunteers handing out meals from 9 to 11 a.m. on weekdays. Hamilton Creek School offers the same service from 9:30 to 10 a.m. Volunteers are also delivering meals to the following locations in the area:
• Old Waterloo School at 9:30 a.m.
• Fire Station 35 at 9:40 a.m.
• Turning Point Church at 10:05 a.m.
• Sodaville City Hall at 10:25 a.m.
Kids can pick up meals at Lacomb School from 9:30 to 10 a.m., Providence Vineyard Christian Church at 9:25 a.m. or the pullout at the intersection of Brewster Road and Lacomb Drive at 9:55 a.m.
Clemens Primary School in Philomath will have meal pick-ups from noon to 1 p.m.
On the weekends, the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Greater Santiam will hand out bagged lunches in Lebanon and Sweet Home.
Reporter Nia Tariq can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 541-812-6091. Les Gehrett of the Lebanon Express contributed to this report.
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