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School closed but meals still offered

Published on: March 25, 2020

Ashley Dorsey holds up a Grab-and-Go meal package ready for distribution at Rodgers Middle School as, from left, Mayda Damayo and Elizabeth Gonzalez look on.
LINDA CHION KENNEY PHOTO

‘Grab-and-Go’ meals keep kids fed during coronavirus school shutdown

By LINDA CHION-KENNEY

To ensure students who qualify for food assistance don’t go hungry during the coronavirus school shutdown, “Grab-and-Go” feeding sites have been established at 23 public schools, including five schools in the south county area.

Grab-and-Go food locations in south Hillsborough County are at East Bay, Lennard and Spoto high schools, in Gibsonton, Ruskin and Riverview, respectively; Rodgers Middle School, in Riverview; and Reddick Elementary School, in Wimauma.

“We feed them on a daily basis, so what makes today any different?” said Ashley Dorsey, at the Grab-and-Go feeding site at Rodgers Middle School on March 24. “We’re keeping our social distance and we’re sanitizing every hour.”

The coronavirus school shutdown, added Dorsey, a student nutrition manager for Hillsborough County Public Schools, “makes it even more important that these students are still eating and still feel like we care about them.”

From 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., children ages 18 and under at all sites are eligible to receive one package daily with food for both breakfast and lunch. Walk-ups are accepted and food is distributed directly from school buses set up in each school’s designated car lines. For record-keeping purposes, every student or young adult age 18 and under must be present to receive a bagged breakfast and lunch.

Food being delivered to schools in preparation for Grab-and-Go events at five local schools (23 around the county). Trucks dropped off food to student nutrition managers at Durant High School. Anyone 18 years old and younger can pick up breakfast and lunch at sites. Each location will start serving food at 9 a.m. and remain open until 1 p.m. daily. Students are only allowed to receive food one time each day but may pick up breakfast and lunch at the same time.
HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY SCHOOLS PHOTO

Also, to ensure no child goes hungry, Feeding Tampa Bay, a school district partner, has opened “Breakspot Meal Sites” to distribute free breakfast- and lunch-packages, Monday through Friday, to children ages 18 and under.

For south county residents, the closest of the seven Hillsborough County distribution sites are the Bill Carey Brandon Boys & Girls Club (noon to 1 p.m., 510 East Sadie St.) and Feeding Tampa Bay in Tampa (11 a.m. to noon, 4702 Transport Drive, Building No. 6).

According to school officials, about 123,000 students — or 63 percent of the student population — qualify for free- or reduced-price meals, prompting the school district’s Student Nutrition Services Department to institute Grab-and-Go food locations at 23 schools.

East Bay is at 7710 Old Big Bend Road; Lennard, at 2342 East Shell Point Road; Reddick, at 325 West Lake Drive; Rodgers, at 11910 Tucker Road; and Spoto, at 8538 Eagle Palm Drive.

To aid with transportation needs, HART offers free rides to students ages 18 and under with either a school ID or HART Youth ID, on regular routes that service Hillsborough County schools. Find out more at www.goHART.org.

For more on Grab-and-Go, visit: www.hillsboroughschools.org/coronavirus/grabandgo.

For more on Breakspot meals, visit: www.feedingtampabay.org/breakspot-meal-sites-hours.

Ashely Dorsey, right, manager of the Grab-and-Go feeding site at Rodgers Middle School, said it’s important to keep kids fed during the coronavirus school shutdown. With her, from left, are Mayda Damayo, Elizabeth Gonzalez and Denise Sauers.
LINDA CHION KENNEY PHOTO

 

Ready to distribute Grab-and-Go meal packages March 24 at Rodgers Middle School, from left, Elizabeth Gonzalez, Mayda Damayo, Ashely Dorsey and Denise Sauers. Loading from the school bus turned food truck is Lennard Cruse.
LINDA CHION KENNEY PHOTO

 

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY SCHOOLS PHOTO

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY SCHOOLS PHOTO

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY SCHOOLS PHOTO

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY SCHOOLS PHOTO

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