Summer starts Saturday but schools across Iowa are already serving summer meals to students.
The Ames Community School District is busing families without access to transportation to its three meal sites to pick up food. Superintendent Jenny Risner says that’s eliminated barriers. The school district also delivers food baskets to families in need and serves extra meals on Fridays for kids to take home for the weekend.
“I don’t know that we’ll ever go back to kind of a normal,” Risner says, “because I think what we’ve identified is there are many more families than we originally thought that do need this support.” The Ames school district has more than 4,500 students. So far, it’s served more than 50,000 meals to students since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Sioux City Community School District has served more than 250-thousand free meals to kids between the ages of one and 18. Food Service director Rich Luze says on average, the district has served four-to-five-thousand meals each day. “Numbers are coming in about what we were expecting,” Luze says. “We just hope that it does continue on once all the people go back to work and once summer rolls in, and that we don’t drop off like it has typically been in the past summers.”
Luze says the school district has served around 15-hundred meals a day during a typical summer. Before, kids were required to eat their meals on site, but because of COVID-19, they’ll continue to be able to pick up their meals and leave.
(By Katie Peikes, Iowa Public Radio)