Schools are closed, but students are still getting fed.
Paragould, Greene County Tech and Marmaduke School Districts have been providing breakfasts and lunches for those students and parents, grandparents and guardians able to come to the locations where the food is provided.
But response has been a little slow, at least for Paragould. “We want to hand out more than we have,” said Paragould High School Principal Josh Shepherd on Wednesday morning.
Figures provided by Assistant Principal Tim Parrott indicated that through all four locations, the district had averaged 175 meals (between lunches and breakfasts) a day since Monday when the initiative began. “And at least here at the junior high school,” he said, “we are seeing the same people every day.”
Other locations for the meals include the Ram Academy, 505 E. Canal St.; the parking lot at Oak Grove Middle School, 5097 Highway 135 N.; and the East Side Impact Center, 700 E. Main St.
All the locations are giving out breakfasts and lunches for all youngsters aged 18 and younger, regardless of which school they attended or district in which they belong. “And you don’t even have to be a student,” he said. “If there’s a child present, we’ll give you the food. And if a church wants to bus kids in, we’ll have the food for them.”
The locations are in operation from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. through Friday, March 20.
“We give out lunch for today and breakfast for tomorrow,” Parrott said. Breakfasts include a pastry, fruit and milk. Lunch includes a sandwich, vegetables – “lettuce and tomato for the sandwich, or carrots,” said Parrott – as well as raisins and a dessert.
In the Greene County Tech School District, the process is somewhat different, and the district is also seeing a larger turnout. Breakfast is available from 8 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. and lunch from 11 a.m. to noon. The meals are available at Greene County Tech Primary School, 1300 S. Rockingchair Road; and Greene County Tech Elementary School, 5203 W. Kingshighway.
“We’ve had 99 lunches so far at the primary as of 11:15,” said Tech Assistant Superintendent (instructional) Amy Lucius, on Wednesday “and 48 at the elementary.” She said the primary school had also served 135 breakfasts with another 82 at the elementary.
Figures from Diane Rath, assistant director for food service contractor OPAA, indicated the district had served two breakfasts and 82 lunches on Monday – “the word was a little slow getting out,” said Assistant Superintendent (non-instructional) Scott Gerrish. Tuesday, however, saw 82 breakfasts served, along with 219 lunches. “I was pleasantly surprised,” Gerrish said. “But the way we’ve set it up is just like for when parents come to bring children to school.”
“It’s a good thing,” added Primary Assistant Principal Kodie Potter. “It’s familiar traffic lines.”
As previously reported, the Marmaduke School District is also serving meals for its students. The “grab and go” meals (both breakfasts and lunches) will be available from 11 a.m. to noon in the school lobby and at the Lafe City Hall.