COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - Although students are already out of school, and have been for two weeks, they are not going back to school anytime soon.
The official spring break week is right around the corner for students in Muscogee and Harris counties. The question on some parents’ minds is how students will eat when the schools are not providing meals during spring break?
Not all students can count on their meals coming from kitchens, so local organizations are stepping up and stepping in to make sure kids eat during spring break.
Schools across Georgia are closed because of the coronavirus outbreak, and Thursday, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp announced keeping schools closed through most of April.
While districts across the Chattahoochee Valley are providing meals during what would have been school days, Feeding the Valley CEO Frank Shepard said during spring break week, they contractually cannot do that.
Spring break technically begins Monday for students in Harris and Muscogee counties and local organizations want to make sure students keep getting meals as they have been the last two weeks.
“Many kids we know may not have any food during the time they’re away from school," Shepard said.
In Muscogee County,Feeding the Valley and the United Way are providing ‘buddy packs’ for students.
“It typically has a couple of entrees, kid-friendly items like raviolis, spaghetti-o’s, things like that, a couple of lunch items, a couple of breakfast bars and two drinks,” Shepard said.
Monday, Wednesday and Friday, the meals will be handed out at the same locations the district is currently offering meals. Each day’s ‘buddy pack’ will have enough food for two days so kids should be able to have meals Monday through Saturday.
“[In Harris County], we will deliver at both Pine Lane Apartments and Park Elementary at 11 a.m. Monday through Friday. So, 11 til 12 we’ll be delivering food,” said Kathy Carlisle, executive director of Fellowship of Christians United in Service (FOCUS).
FOCUS is hosting a meal packing party to give away to students next week.
“First of all, so they know we care and so we know that they’re getting at least one good meal a day," Carlisle said.
“What we know is kids who are malnourished are 20 percent behind their peers in their pursuit of academic success. So, we can’t allow that to happen. They should have the right to go to school, learn and achieve and exceed, and you can’t learn on an empty stomach," Shepard added.
If you have extra food laying around the house, you can donate it to the Feeding the Valley warehouse to help keep kids fed in your community, or donate to FOCUS in Harris County.