RIDGEFIELD, Wash. (KOIN) — As schools in Oregon and Washington — and many other states — are closed for at least a few weeks, one of the first issues schools are working on is making sure children have food to eat, especials the kids from low-income families.
In many districts, meal distribution will start Tuesday but it started Monday in Ridgefield.
District officials sent out notices and set up to distribute breakfast and lunch pick-ups outside the elementary schools. They’ll be doing that every weekday, and children need to be present.
Meanwhile, parents are trying to work on ways to keep kids learning while schools are figuring out how to teach online.
“At our house we’ve set up a daily schedule so we’ve planne out their day already,” said Dennis Madler, who has 3 kids. “They have active time to go outside. Their day is organized like it is at school, so stay on a schedule and keep learning.”
That’s OK with his son, Gavin.
“I think it’s better. If there was no work for like a month-and-a-half we’d probably forget most of it when we go back to school,” he said.
At Beaverton High School, local church groups were dropping off food for meals along with gift cards that will be handed out starting Tuesday to about 150 families in need.
“Many families just run to Costco or the grocery store to stock up, but we have families who can’t do that,” Beaverton High School principal Anne Erwin said.
Portland schools will hand out breakfast and lunch outside several schools on Tuesday morning. Evergreen schools will do the same and they’ll have buses making food stops at elementary school bus stops in the morning.
Caring for kids is also a struggle. Some daycares closed their doors or can’t handle more kids. It’s why some of the Ridgefield girls soccer team players are offering to watch kids at no charge.
“I feel like with soccer we get so much support,” Ridgefield junior Jaymie Murray said. “We can give back in this situation.”
School districts are posting meal distribution sites and times on their websites.
Annie Kirschner, the Executive Director of Partner for a Hunger-Free Oregon, said they know this crisis is impacting families.
“Meals will continue to be available to students in many school districts. Visit www.OregonHunger.org/Covid-19 to find a list of all Oregon school districts with links to their meal plans during the Coronavirus school closures,” Kirschner said in a statement. “Free meals are available to children ages 1-18 to pick up “grab and go” style. Hunger-Free Oregon knows this crisis is impacting families ability to get the food they need and we applaud the work of countless Oregonians and the state who quickly jumped into action to respond. This website will help quickly give families the information they need to access school meals, as well as SNAP and other resources. For those without internet access, call 211 or your local school for additional information.”