Free Student Meals Now Include Weekends
DEDHAM PUBLIC SCHOOL FOOD SERVICE DEPARTMENT EXPANDS DAILY FREE MEAL OFFERINGS TO WEEKENDS DURING EXTENDED CLOSURE
This week will mark over 10,000 meals provided to students since the meal service began in mid-March.
As the extended closure for Dedham Public Schools continues, the Dedham Public Schools Food Service Department has announced plans to expand the breakfast and lunch “grab and go” meal service to now include weekends. The Food Services team has been providing daily meals, free of charge, for all students under the age of 18, since March 16, 2020. The expanded program will now offer students weekend meals, available for pick up during the Friday distribution.
On Thursday, April 9th, with the long holiday weekend for the Easter holiday, the anticipated 350 students served will be able to pick up breakfast and lunch meals for Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The Dedham Public Schools Food Services Department anticipates providing over 2,800 meals in total to Dedham students this weekend alone.
“We have an incredibly dedicated staff who have all stepped in to adapt, reorganize, reschedule and plan a whole new way of doing things when the schools announced an extended closure,” said Jeanne Johnson, Director of DPS Food Services. “Our team greatly misses our students and we are very aware of how important and scary this long school closure can be for those students who rely on school meals. We want to make sure that they have access to healthy food throughout the week – and now, over the weekends.”
In the three weeks since Dedham Public Schools enacted an extended closure in response to the threat of the Coronavirus COVID-19, the hard working crew of 23 food service workers, supported by over 45 Dedham teachers and staff volunteers, have provided over 9000 meals to Dedham students and on Thursday, April 9th, when they distribute another 2,800 meals, they will have served over 10,000 meals. The Food Service workers are scheduled and working as teams, sanitizing everything throughout the day, wearing masks and standing the required six feet apart as they prepare “grab and go” food bags for distribution in three Dedham locations.
The Dedham Public Schools Food Services Team distributes meals every Monday – Friday, from 9:00am – 11:00am. Moving forward, on Fridays, students will now be able to pick-up meals for Saturday and Sunday as well. Meals will be available during the planned April vacation week (April 21 – April 24, 2020). Distribution sites will not be open on Monday, April 20th for Patriots Day, students will get that meal provided as part of the weekend meal pick up on Friday, April 17th.
This shift to expand the food program to include weekends comes after new guidance was issued from state and federal agencies overseeing the Federal School Lunch program. Breakfast and lunch meals are available for all Dedham students under 18 years of age and recipients do not need to be free/reduced lunch qualified to be eligible.
Students can pick up meals - free of charge - at one of three locations: Avery Elementary School parking lot (336 High Street), Veteran’s Road Dedham Housing Community Center (92 Veteran’s Road), or Riverdale Elementary School (143 Needham St). Meal bags are distributed in a drive-through format with residents asked to remain in their vehicles. Children must be present and on site to receive meals. For those limited situations, currently around 12+ households, Dedham Schools is making specific delivery of meals available.
To learn more about Student Meals or other Dedham Public School updates during this Coronavirus COVID-19 extended closure, visit: www.dedham.k12.ma.us/coronavirus