In a span of 30 minutes, dozens of people drove, walked and rode their bikes by Eldora-New Providence Elementary School to pick up free meals from district staff. The lunches are part of the Emergency Food Distribution plan set in place last week to feed anyone under age 18 who needs a meal.
To prepare for the giveaway, lunch staff assemble around 400 lunches every weekday. They have four options: ham and cheese, turkey and cheese, turkey roll-ups or peanut butter and jelly. Along with a lunch for that day, they also serve breakfast for the next day with cereal, graham crackers, juice and a piece of fruit.
For some, it’s a chance to get out of the house. Kate Kohart is a senior at South Hardin High School this year, and wasn’t sure how much she would be affected by the pandemic.
“At first I didn’t think it was going to affect me that much and then I realized I was missing seeing my friends every day, the people that I’m never going to see again, missing prom and that I might not have a regular graduation. It’s different and it’s sad, but I know that it has to happen,” she said. “It is sad, but the entire class of 2020 all across the nation is having the same thing happen to them so I know it’s something that we are all going through.”
Kate and her younger brother, Chris, were able to get outside and enjoy the nice day. While the current isolation has been sad for Kate, Chris isn’t too bothered by the situation.
“I like it better than school. I don’t see people as much. It doesn’t really affect me though,” he said.
Kate said it feels like summer, except that she usually works at the daycare (Eldora Children’s Center) and with that closed she’s not working.
The Koharts are two of the more than 250 people who've picked up meals at the school each day since the program started last week. But that number is increasing. On Monday, the district handed out 320 meals.
The meals aren't just for students on free or reduced lunch plans. They're not even just for students.
“It’s for everybody from zero to 18. In my emails to the parents I’m going to say ‘please come up,’” Dee Priske said.
Originally, the preschool teacher was serving the meals at E-NP school, but she decided to take a different route. Last week she helped Transportation Director Nancy Webb do a few in-town deliveries and this week she's taking meals to the Pine Crest Mobile Home Park and to some homes in town.
With so many things up in the air and nothing being normal, it’s a chance for parents, students and teachers to get out of the house and have a little bit of a routine again. Many teachers will stand by the route with signs and wave as the kids go by.
“We were like ‘no hugs, no hugs’ just imaginary high fives or whatever,” Priske said. “Even though they can’t get the hugs, it’s nice to see them and see that they are doing OK.”
Meals are distributed at the following locations and times (available to anyone age 18 and younger):
- AGWSR High School: South kitchen door 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
- Alden Elementary: 12:10-12:30 p.m.
- Eldora-New Providence Elementary: 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
- Pine Crest Mobile Home Park: 11:15-11:30 a.m.
- South Hardin Middle School: 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
- Julia O’Neal Park: 10:30-10:50 a.m.
- Rock Run Elementary: 11-11:20 a.m.
- Pineview Elementary: 11:30-11:50 a.m.
- Heritage Park (by the basketball courts): 11:45 a.m.-12:15 p.m.
- Hubbard-Radcliffe Elementary: 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
- Those living within the E-NP and H-R school districts who wish to have meals delivered, contact Nancy Webb at 641-939-5631 or firstname.lastname@example.org with your address and number of meals to be delivered.
- Wellsburg Center west kitchen door: 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.