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Hillsborough moves to weekly school meal packages

Families can pick up a week’s worth of food on Wednesday morning.
 
Hillsborough County school employees pass out free school meals to families, Tuesday, March 24, 2020, at Brandon High School in Brandon, Fla. Twenty-one schools across the county are serving bagged breakfasts and lunches for all children age 18 and younger. District officials are making sure the children don't go hungry after the official spring break week ends, and because schools are temporarily not reopening as part of the response to the coronavirus. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
Hillsborough County school employees pass out free school meals to families, Tuesday, March 24, 2020, at Brandon High School in Brandon, Fla. Twenty-one schools across the county are serving bagged breakfasts and lunches for all children age 18 and younger. District officials are making sure the children don't go hungry after the official spring break week ends, and because schools are temporarily not reopening as part of the response to the coronavirus. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara) [ CHRIS O'MEARA | AP ]
Published April 10, 2020|Updated April 10, 2020

TAMPA — Beginning Wednesday, the Hillsborough County School District will change its Grab and Go meal distribution practices to minimize contact between families and district employees.

Families will be able to pick up a week’s worth of food once a week instead of traveling to a school every day. The distributions will take place every Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at all 147 sites, shown here. One-day food allotments will be given out Monday and Tuesday, April 13 and 14, to avoid a gap in the service.

Each weekly package will include a pound of lunchmeat, a loaf of bread, milk, juice, and various snacks. As half the food must be regrigerated, and the entire package will weigh more than 10 pounds, families who walk to the schools are advised to plan for the walk home One suggestion was to bring a child’s backpack.

“This decision demonstrates care from our organization," Superintendent Addison Davis said in a news release. “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.”

On Thursday, the district reported that since schools closed on March 23 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, more than a million meals had been served.

Other districts, including Pasco County, have already moved to weekly food distributions.

Meals are available to all children 18 years old and younger, and students with special needs under the age of 21. While more than 60 percent of the district’s 220,000 students qualify for free lunch, the Grab and Go meals are available for any student, even if they are not in the lunch program.

More information can be found at HillsboroughSchools.org/coronavirus/grabandgo.