Editor’s Note: Please double check the district’s website for latest information on school lunches as details change weekly.
Any child in Hillsborough County can now get two free meals each weekday at 147 sites throughout the area thanks to Hillsborough County Public Schools.
The number of sites offering meals increased from 23 to 147 on March 30 in an effort to reach more children. On the first day of the program, more than 50,000 meals were distributed.
“We know many of our families are struggling and we must do all we can to break down barriers for our children. I am so proud of our student nutrition staff and our transportation employees for working hard and being that comfort for our families. These meals will ensure that students have accessibility to nutritious meals and have a strong start to their eLearning experience,” said Melissa Snively, school board chair.
The meals, which are served from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. daily, are federally funded through the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
“We follow our summer food program,” said Tanya Arja, with HCPS. “Summer food programs are approved to be used in emergency situations.”
Any child 18 years old and younger can pick up a Grab-and-Go meal, whether or not they typically qualify for free or reduced lunches, and breakfast and lunch are served in one pickup. Schools offering the meals are spread evenly throughout the county.
“We have children in all parts of our community who rely on meals in our schools,” said Arja. “We also know people in all communities may be losing their jobs due to this crisis. We know more people may be hurting even though they did not previously qualify for free and reduced meals.”
The district plans to continue to offer the meals throughout the extended closure.
“We will constantly review our plans with our vendors as far as the supply of product,” said Arja.
Schools in the Eastern Hillsborough County area offering the meals can be found at www.sdhc.k12.fl.us.