After more than two weeks of distributing hot meals every weekday to students, the Hillsborough County School District began giving out a week’s worth of food to students on Wednesdays, starting on April 15, 2020. Pictured is Hillsborough County Superintendent of School Addison Davis participating in the Grab-and-Go lunch program distribution earlier that month.

Throughout 2020, Hillsborough County Public Schools and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) worked together to make sure that students were receiving food. In addition to summer pickups, the USDA pledged to fund free meals for all students throughout the 2020-21 school year.

“We know that the students need fuel to be successful in the classroom and ensuring students have the proper nutrition will help the child as a whole,” said Department Manager of Media Outreach Erin Maloney.

Original story printed May 2020.

“As Hillsborough County Public Schools (HCPS) continues to navigate CDC recommendations for social distancing and the state’s stay-at-home order, our district is committed to keeping our students, families and our staff safe,” said Tanya Arja, HCPS media spokesperson.

In April, the district changed its Grab-and-Go meal distribution practices to minimize contact between families and staff.

Families will be able to pick up a week’s worth of food once a week instead of traveling to a site every day. Families can pick up the meals every Wednesday between 9 a.m.-1 p.m. The district will continue to offer the Grab-and-Go meals at 147 school sites. For locations, visit

These meals will include one pound of lunch meat, one loaf of bread, milk, juice and nutritious snacks for the week. The Grab-and-Go sites have had a tremendous impact on our community, providing more than 1 million meals so far for students during this extended closure.

“Our district’s goal is to ensure every learner has access to nutritious meals, even when they are not physically at school,” said Arja.

“This decision demonstrates care from our organization. By reducing the number of contact points within our community, we will eliminate immediate concerns and continue to develop strategies that protect our students, employees and parents. I am excited that we will be extending nutritious meals to our students in a manner that promotes and fosters safety. Our once-a-week stop will give students a weekly supply of food that will assist them with remaining sharp during the e-Learning process. Our district’s effort will continue to evolve as we seek to identify proactive solutions to assist our community,” stated Hillsborough County Public Schools Superintendent Addison Davis.

Meals are available to ALL children 18 years old and younger as well as students with special needs under the age of 21. For additional information, please visit

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Kate Quesada
Assignment Editor Kate Quesada started working at the Osprey Observer in 2004 after graduating from the University of South Florida with a masters degree in Mass Communications. Since then, she has held various positions at the paper and has been working as the assignment editor since January 2020. She lives in Lithia with her husband Mike and sons Dylan and Max and stays active in the community on school PTA boards and volunteering with local organizations.