A local school district’s program designed to offer free meals to local children has been extended through spring.
Perry County School District, which began its “Grab & Go Meals” program — an extension of the district’s USDA-authorized Summer Food Service Program — in September, announced Tuesday that the program has been extended through the end of the school year in May.
According to PCSD communications director Kate Martin, since the program began on Sept. 8, the district has served more than 40,000 free meals, both to students and other children in the county.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, PCSD adopted a plan in advance of reopening this fall that has students attending on-campus classes only a few days a week, a decision which prompted a discussion about how to provide meals to students who may be food-insecure and rely on the district to ease that burden.
The Grab & Go program provided the answer.
“We are very excited that we’re able to offer free meals to children throughout this school year,” Baer said Tuesday. “We love knowing that kids have the nutrition they need to grow and learn. It’s a wonderful way to ease some of the worry for parents during the pandemic.”
Baer said the program also provides a morale boost for her staff.
“My staff also love connecting with our students, whether they are eating their meals on campus or coming through the drive-thru line,” she said.
As part of the program, district students who attend classes on campus can enjoy a free breakfast and lunch each school day at no charge, while students who don’t have classes on campus on any school day can pick up a Grab & Go breakfast and lunch each morning at no charge through the drive-thru.
The Grab & Go Meals are available to any child who lives in Perry County, regardless of school enrollment.
To participate, county residents must reserve the Grab & Go Meals online at https://forms.gle/ritwsg1Srjq2C1gy6 by 8 a.m. Monday through Friday. All children 18 and younger can receive a free breakfast and lunch each day. According to Baer, these are school meals, so they are suitable for children age 3 and up.
Meal pickup is scheduled from 9:30-10:30 a.m. Monday-Friday. Those picking up meals should enter the bus parking lot and stay to the right. The pick-up location is the Perryville High School Cafeteria.
There is one caveat: When the district campus is closed to students — for holidays, parent-teacher conferences, snow days, and so on — there will be no Grab & Go Meals.
There is no income eligibility requirement, for the program, which is free to everyone.
“This program is open to all children in our county, whether they go to school here or not,” Baer said. “Just order your meals and pick them up.”
Those wishing more information about the program are encouraged to contact Baer by email at email@example.com or by phone at 573-547-7500, ext. 220.