Students not on school buses — but their meals are


300 buses in Evergreen district delivering meals to students during closures

VANCOUVER, Wash. (KOIN) — Amid closures because of coronavirus, kids weren’t getting on school buses Tuesday. But their meals were.

Evergreen Public Schools are loading up school buses with meals to make district-wide deliveries. Superintendent Mike Merlino said it’s been all hands on deck to prepare 8000 meals going out free for any students who need them.

Evergreen School District Superintendent Mike Merlino, March 17, 2020 (KOIN)

“Since that announcement came out, you have our food services people, our transportation people, all our staff working throughout the weekend logistically figuring out how we were going to do this,” Merlino told KOIN 6 News.

Kathy Bleth, the Evergreen transportation supervisor, admitted it’s been a lot of long hours. “It’s very heartwarming because we know a lot of children will go without food, so it’s been very rewarding.”

Evergreen School District Transportation Director Kathy Bleth, March 17, 2020 (KOIN)

She said they’ve spent hours preparing 300 buses for meal deliveries. Students may wait at the bus stop during their normal pick up times to grab these meals.

“We’re hearing a lot of kids wiill be out there,” Merlino said. “We’ve gotten great response from the community on this.”

For students who normally walk to class, they will still be able to pick up meals at the school. Officials said this meal service helps hungry students and their parents as businesses shut down, too.

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Accessing food during the coronavirus outbreak

“Parents are financially strapped as well, so it’s even going to help in that perspective,” he said. “Ten meals a week that they don’t have to think ‘How am I going to pay for this?'”

As school districts help their community, they encourage you to do the same — “rally together, stay healthy, love your families.”

Gervais School District is busing their students’ lunches, as well. Their Food Service Delivery program began Monday and will run through March 31. They will go to every home in the district with the day’s lunch and breakfast for the next day between 10:30 and 12:30 a.m.

The Portland Public Schools served more than 2800 breakfasts and lunches on Tuesday across 15 school-based sites, officials said.

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