Empty classrooms don’t have to mean empty bellies

Free meals offered to local youth during COVID-19 cancellations

Hundreds of local schoolchildren depend on free school lunches to meet their daily nutritional needs, and with the ongoing closures, empty classrooms could mean empty bellies for many Gadsden and Jackson county youngsters, if not for the efforts of state and local school officials, as well as supportive communities.

Gadsden County Public Schools have teamed up with Florida Department of Agriculture Consumer Services’ (FDACS) “Taking Action to Feed Students”  initiative, coinciding with COVID-19 school cancellations March 23-27. From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., all Gadsden County youth ages 18 and younger, as well as special needs students up to age 21, are invited to pick up free meals at drive-thru and curbside pickups set up at Gadsden County public elementary, middle and preschools. Additional community sites will be announced as needed, school officials said.

“We are doing what we can to make the best of a very unexpected situation to provide support to our students in this dire time of need,” Gadsden County Public School officials said. 

Meal services are expected to be extended to coincide with extended school cancellations. For more information on how you can Donate, Volunteer or become a HOST site, contact Gadsden County District Parent Services at (850) 545-5597 or (850) 933-3569 or submit info online at https://bit.ly/2QeAaJy. For updates on meal offerings, follow Gadsden County Public Schools on Facebook or call  (850) 627-9651.

Jackson County is also offering “grab and go” curbside breakfasts and lunches in Sneads, Grand Ridge and many other local communities on weekdays until 11:30 a.m. on weekdays. The initial plan was for the meals to be served through March 20, but the date will likely be pushed back in light of extended closures. For the latest, follow the Jackson County School District on Facebook or call (850) 482-1299.

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