Local schools providing pickup, delivery meal options

  • Gill-Montague Regional School District food service supervisor Liana Pleasant, right, delivers bagged lunches to Hillcrest Elementary School student Kairi West, 6, and her sibling Ashlynn, 3, at Unity Park in Turners Falls on Tuesday afternoon. Meals are being provided free for all children ages 18 and under while schools are closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Hillcrest Elementary School student Kairi West, 6, right, and her sibling Ashlynn, 3, hold their free bagged lunch and breakfast meals at Unity Park in Turners Falls on Tuesday afternoon. Meals are being provided free for all children ages 18 and under while schools are closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Gill-Montague Regional School District food service supervisor Liana Pleasant, right, and Sheffield Elementary School cook Melissa Murphy work to deliver bagged meals for children at Unity Park in Turners Falls on Tuesday afternoon. Meals are being provided free for all children ages 18 and under while schools are closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Gill-Montague Regional School District food service staff deliver bagged breakfast and lunches for children at Unity Park in Turners Falls on Tuesday afternoon. Meals are being provided free for all children ages 18 and under while schools are closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Jimena De Pareja of the Gill-Montague Regional School District hands out bags containing meals on Third Street in Turners Falls on Tuesday. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • Kim Watroba and Liana Pleasant of the Gill-Montague Regional School District load milk they retrieved from the temporarily closed Erving Elementary School into the kitchen at Turners Falls High School. The milk will be distributed at feeding sites throughout the district while schools are closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Staff Writer
Published: 3/18/2020 7:25:26 PM

After Gov. Charlie Baker’s mandatory closure of all schools in Massachusetts for at least three weeks in response to the developing COVID-19 pandemic, school districts across the county are coming up with ways to keep food accessible to families while classrooms are closed.

The earliest possible reopening of schools is scheduled for Monday, April 6. In the interim, public school district buildings will be closed to the public. Schools will continue undergoing scheduled deep cleanings, and most central offices will continue to function and will be accessible by phone and email.

Greenfield School Department

The Greenfield School Department’s free meals can be accessed at Newton School, Greenfield Middle School, Greenfield High School, Oak Courts, Leyden Woods, the YMCA and the Days Inn from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Mondays through Fridays. Additional sites may be added.

“We offered free meals to all youth immediately, starting the very first day of school closure,” said Superintendent Jordana Harper. “The grab-and-go option is the healthiest way to follow the governor’s guidance of no group gatherings and to maintain social distancing while providing this necessary service.”

Pioneer Valley Regional School District

The Pioneer Valley Regional School District started a bagged grab-and-go meal program Tuesday. Superintendent Jonathan Scagel said this will provide meals for pickup at each district school between 11:15 a.m. and noon on, what would have been, each regularly scheduled school day. Food is available to all children, not just students enrolled in the district, according to Food Service Director Michael Onorato.

“As of Tuesday, everything is set up for all of the four schools we service in the district to have curbside pickup,” Onorato said.

The district will investigate the feasibility of a neighborhood drop delivery system, but will provide pick-up in the interim. According to Onorato, when the federal government implemented its emergency plan, “it basically kicked off summer meal programs early,” and allowed funding for delivery plans that exist through these programs. Unfortunately, he said, “that doesn’t help Pioneer students.”

“We’re not set up for a summer meals program, like some other districts are,” Onorato said. “We’re doing our best to make sure that, right now, we have food available to children.”

Gill-Montague Regional School District

Gill-Montague Regional School District Superintendent Michael Sullivan said the district will also provide bagged meals at the Turners Falls High School and Great Falls Middle School front entrance from 11:20 to 11:50 a.m each weekday. F.M. Kuzmeskus school buses will also distribute food along different routes between 11:20 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. on weekdays.

Tuesday through Thursday, deliveries will consist of that day’s lunch and the following day’s breakfast items. Monday had its breakfast and lunch delivered on that day, and Friday will only have lunch. Alternative options are available, including gluten-free.

Mohawk Trail and Hawlemont regional school districts

Starting Friday, Mohawk Trail Regional School District will launch its own free grab-and-go food program for any school-aged child who is enrolled at a district school.

Carla Potts, communications specialist with the district, announced the distribution schedule Wednesday. Meals will be distributed at Buckland-Shelburne Elementary School from 10:30 a.m. to noon, Colrain Central School from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Neighbor’s Convenience Store in Ashfield from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. The contacts to reserve meals at the sites are, respectively, Debbie at dplante@mtrsd.org, Amy at alooman@mtrsd.org and Wendy at 413-625-6390. All of the sites involve curbside pick-up.

Interim Superintendent Patricia Bell said in a notice sent to families on Monday that the grab-and-go meals are meant to limit access to buildings and allow for social distancing — 6 feet of space between persons. Gov. Baker has said restricting access to school buildings will have little impact on public health if best practices for avoiding the spread of COVID-19, including social distancing and regular hand washing, are not followed.

Additionally, children ages 18 and under can get free grab-and-go meals at Hawlemont Elementary School on Monday through Friday, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. each day. According to Principal Lindsay Rodriguez, people can either drive up to the school via the bus circle and have the food brought to their vehicles, or walkers can wait on the sidewalk by the main entrance.

Athol-Royalston Regional School District

According to a notice from Athol-Royalston Regional School District Superintendent Darcy Fernandes, the district started providing free meals on Tuesday.

Families may access lunch and breakfast for any child under 19 one of two ways. Food for students may be picked up at the closest bus stop. Buses with food will arrive once a day at scheduled stops two hours after the normal elementary school pick-up time.

Alternatively, food may be picked up outside of Athol High School or Athol Community Elementary School, Mondays through Fridays from 10 to 11 a.m.

Frontier Regional School and Union 38

The Frontier Regional and Union 38 school districts are offering grab-and-go breakfast and lunch bags for pick-up at their district schools. Food will be available for all children 18 years of age and younger.

A school should be notified in advance if a family is interested in pick-up, so the correct number of meals can be prepared by staff.

Community meals and food pantries

For an extensive list of food resources in Franklin County, click here. This list is continually being updated by Community Action Pioneer Valley and the Franklin County Hunger Task Force.

Zack DeLuca can be reached at zdeluca@recorder.com or 413-930-4579.



Greenfield Recorder

14 Hope Street
Greenfield, MA 01302-1367
Phone: (413) 772-0261
Fax: (413) 772-2906

 

Copyright © 2019 by Newspapers of Massachusetts, Inc.
Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy