MERIDEN — Touring Maloney High School on Tuesday, Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz praised efforts to mobilize food service staff so students continue receiving meals while schools are closed because of the coronavirus threat.
“I’m delighted that the school districts acted so quickly … thousands of people have filed for unemployment in the last day or two. It’s the largest number of unemployment applications that our state has seen and I think our families are going to be in need of (assistance),” she said.
Families can pick up free lunch and breakfast for the following morning between 11:45 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. at eight distribution sites. Along with Maloney, meals can be picked up at Washington and Lincoln middle schools, Ceppa Field, City Park, Columbus Park, Habershon Park and the Meriden Green.
Around 600 breakfasts and 700 lunches were served Monday — the first day of the program — and 184 were distributed at Maloney on Tuesday, said Phillip Dylewski, food and nutrition coordinator for Meriden Public Schools. Lunch consists of a cold sandwich, fruit or vegetable, milk and a fruit juice. Pastry or cereal, milk, fruit and juice are given out for breakfast.
It’s been “all hands on deck” for the city’s kitchen staff, Dylewski said. He feels having to provide two extra meals per day would be a financial hardship for many parents, some of whom are dealing with reduced hours or layoffs because of the pandemic.
“With a lot of restaurants and businesses closing down — I think a lot of people are going to be out of work,” he said.
Bysiewicz said 110 of 170 school districts in Connecticut have launched pick-up meal programs. The state has encouraged the effort and the USDA has waived some rules to allow for meals to be served on a pick-up basis.
“We wanted to make sure children are getting the meals they needed,” Bysiewicz said.Cheshire
Cheshire families can receive free meals for children at Dodd Middle School on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays between 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Adults can purchase lunch for $5 and breakfast for $3.Southington
Free breakfast and lunch are available at the Derynoski School and DePaolo Middle School bus loops Monday through Friday between 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., though the times may change and an additional location added depending on demand. Food for Saturday can be provided, as well, on Friday. About 116 students were served Monday and 155 on Tuesday.
Staff and community members have volunteered to help deliver meals to some families.
“These are difficult times right now and things are changing, as you know, so rapidly,” School Superintendent Tim Connellan said. “The changes aren’t even daily — they’re sometimes hourly — and people are collaborating and working together really well to do the right thing for kids.” Wallingford
Free lunches can be picked up Monday through Friday between 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. at the rear entrance of Lyman Hall High School, Parker Farms School and the rear of the HUBCAP building on Center Street.
Food service director Jim Bondi said the district is looking to offer breakfast next week.
Lunches can also be purchased by adults for $4.25 and can be pre-ordered online.
“It’s important that (children) get their proper nutrition and with the virus going around it’s going to be hard for everyone to get the meals,” Bondi said. “… Schools are ideally situated to provide that for the students.”