Kanawha County Schools’ delivery of food to bus stops with school buses ended this week but, beginning soon, it will restart providing the five-day meal boxes for the summer.
However, parents and children will have to find a way to get to one of 18 schools to pick up the kits, rather than being able to wait for deliveries at their local bus stops, the school system said.
In announcements Thursday on its website and through a robocall, the school system said “parents will drive up to the tent or front door check-in, open the trunk of the car or side door, and staff will load and close the door.”
The first boxes will be available June 8 at all 18 schools, and after that week they’ll be available every following Monday or Tuesday, depending on the school, through Aug. 3 and Aug. 4.
Your child doesn’t have to attend the particular school, or any Kanawha school, to pick up a box there.
Unlike the meals the school system delivered during the school year, and unlike the roughly $300-per-child Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer, or P-EBT, card benefits families will receive for groceries, these meals won’t be generally restricted to public school children.
All children and teens 18-years-old or younger can receive them, even if they’re not enrolled in Kanawha public schools.
The kits contain five days’ worth of breakfasts and lunches and have a shelf life of 10 days — though they include milk, and parts will need to be refrigerated within 2 hours.
In this last week of Kanawha buses delivering meals, the school system delivered 11,250 boxes, totaling 112,500 meals, Kanawha County Schools spokeswoman Briana Warner said.
Delivering meals via bus was an innovation that Kanawha — alongside, at least initially, many other county school systems in the state — undertook when schools shut down during the pandemic.
Warner said providing five-day meal boxes during the summer, even though buses aren’t delivering them, will still be novel for Kanawha.
Every summer, the U.S. Department of Agriculture funds schools and other organizations to feed kids.
In previous summers, Kanawha provided locations for children to come and eat, but having them eat together this summer would be dangerous with coronavirus still in the community.
“Like in previous summer programs, students and families must find a way to one of our many locations,” Warner said. “This is why we put together 18 sites across the entire county. Any family can choose the location and time that is most convenient for them.”
Angi Kerns, a volunteer for Midwest Food Bank, which is providing many local groups food to distribute, said “I think it’s great what the county is doing, and it’s going to help some people, but even when they were doing the bus stop deliveries there were still a lot of people who were not getting served.”
“There were children who couldn’t get to their bus stop because their bus stop was over a mile away from their house as it is,” Kerns said.
She said she plans to reach out to the school system to see if the groups she works with can help by delivering the boxes directly to students.
But she said these organizations don’t plan to help transport people to the actual sites where the boxes will be provided. She said putting people in the same vehicle could be dangerous.
“Especially with the increased vulnerability of our low-income communities,” she said. “We have seen a lot of stories lately about how the black community in particular is hit harder by this virus.”
“It’s just logistically not a good idea right now and it’s easier for these organizations to continue what they’ve been doing and take the food to the people,” she said.
Following are the 18 schools where you can get the boxes.
NOTE: The days listed below are for the second week of distribution and afterward, unless changed. The first week’s distribution at every school, no matter what the following says, will be Monday, June 8. The hours the boxes will be available are planned to remain the same from week to week.
- Bridge-Clendenin Elementary: 11 a.m.-noon on Tuesdays
- Capital High: 1-2 p.m. on Mondays
- Cedar Grove Elementary: 10-11 a.m. on Tuesdays
- Dunbar Primary: 10-11 a.m. on Tuesdays
- East Bank Middle: 10-11 a.m. on Tuesdays
- Elk Elementary: noon-1:30 p.m. on Mondays
- Flinn Elementary: noon-1 p.m. on Mondays
- Horace Mann Middle: 9:30-10:30 a.m. on Tuesdays
- Malden Elementary: 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. on Tuesdays
- Marmet Elementary: noon-1 p.m. on Tuesdays
- Mary C. Snow West Side Elementary: 10-11 a.m. on Tuesdays
- Nitro Elementary: 10-11 a.m. on Tuesdays
- Piedmont Elementary: noon-1:30 p.m. on Mondays
- Point Harmony Elementary: noon-1 p.m. on Tuesdays
- Riverside High: noon-1 p.m. on Tuesdays
- St. Albans High: 1-2 p.m. on Mondays
- Sissonville Elementary: 9:30-10:30 a.m. on Tuesdays
- Weimer Elementary: 9:30-10:30 a.m. on Tuesdays