INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Officials in the Metropolitan School District of Wayne Township know how far one or two meals can go for a family in need and the COVID-19 pandemic is a sobering reminder of how important a nutritious meal can be for the kids in their district.
That’s why they decided to give parents a chance to feed the district’s kids for free three days a week with their Spring Break Meal Pick-Up.
Parents pull their cars into one of their three locations and pack their vehicles with as many meals as requested. To maintain social distancing, people were asked to signal from inside their cars what was needed.
Superintendent Jeff Butts says when it’s all said and done they will serve the community nearly 100,000 meals.
“Our child nutrition workers are the ones that are really doing the backbreaking work of getting 1,200 bags put together so that we can distribute over a two-hour period,” Butts said.
The goal is to make sure every kid has access to a healthy meal. The bags are filled with fruits, vegetables and fit bars along with sandwiches and other foods.
District officials want to make sure community members who receive these meals don’t have to worry about safety.
“We’re adjusting as we learn more about this virus and the spread of it so that we can continue to do this process and continue to serve our children meals for as long as we possibly can,” Butts said. “That’s part of our mission here.”
They say it’s a mission that doesn’t end because the kids can’t come to school. On March 19, Gov. Eric Holcomb closed all Indiana schools until May 1.
“We think about school, and, of course, school is a place where we provide education (but) it’s also a place where we provide services and our children depend on our schools to get them a healthy breakfast, a healthy lunch and, in many cases, a healthy dinner,” Butts said.
Butts relayed a special moment of appreciation with a woman who came to pick up some meals.
“I had a mother, a grandmother actually, just in tears because she’s so thankful of what’s happening here,” he said. “These are stressful times for people and so for them to be able to see our smiling faces and to be able to say thank you and shed a tear with us as they’re realizing the impact that this has is just powerful.”
With these meal pickups, the district also wants to send a message that it wants people to continue to come together during these tough times.
“While we social-distance it doesn’t mean that we have to completely separate and be apart from each other,” Butts said. “As a community, Wayne Township has really stepped up and it’s been all inspiring for me to watch what our community’s done to serve each other.”
Wayne Township plans on continuing their meal service for kids after spring break is over and adding Garden City Elementary as a fourth location.