(WJRT) - (03/13/20) - Thursday evening, in response to the spread of COVID-19 across the country and in Michigan, Governor Gretchen Whitmer ordered "the closure of all K-12 school buildings to students starting Monday, March 16 until Sunday, April 5."
Under her State of Emergency declaration, school buildings are not scheduled to reopen until Monday, April 6.
Navigating all of the changes this brings to childcare plans, work schedules and finances will be daunting for families throughout the state.
Many households rely on meals provided by school districts to feed their children throughout the day, so bridging that gap may also be difficult.
Several districts, organizations, and businesses are already hard at work doing what they can to help provide meals during the coronavirus shutdown. Here is a fluid list of the ones we know about:
Beecher Community Schools: Two meals a day in the morning and early afternoon on weekdays will be distributed from eight locations until April 3. The meals are free to all children. Click here for the full schedule of times and locations.
Chesaning Union Schools: Breakfast and lunch will be delivered to students beginning Monday, March 16. The district will use normal pick-up bus routes to deliver two meals per child (breakfast and lunch) once daily between 9 am to 1 pm. If a child is a drop-off only, families can call to add their address to the food delivery route. They can also pick up meals between 10 am - 2 pm. Please call upon arrival and the meals will be brought out to you.
Clio Area Schools: Free food will be distributed to families from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on weekdays from Clio High School, Garner Elementary School and Clio Community Church of God. Breakfast and lunch will be served. Anyone needing a meal needs to visit a site and tell the workers how many children need a meal.
Flint Community Schools: Superintendent Derrick Lopez tells ABC12 the district has partnered with Sodexo Food and with First Student and Teach Out to have 24 sites throughout the district. The effort will operate similar to its summer feeding program. The sites will be split up on three different sides of the city: north, south, and central with eight stations in each. Breakfast and lunch will be distributed from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on weekdays. See the district's website for information on the distribution sites.
Genesee Intermediate School District: Cathedral of Faith Church in Flint is offering free meal packages for all youth from noon and 12:45 p.m. on weekdays. The distributions will take place in the south parking lot.
Grand Blanc Community Schools: "A Hands Up" food pantry at West Middle School will remain open by appointments. This resource is open to all school families regardless of residency and doesn't require ID. Superintendent Clarence Garner says the GBCS dining staff will provide a large donation to FISH that will soon be distributed to Grand Blanc families in need.
The district also is hosting drive-up food distributions on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays beginning March 17. The distributions are planned from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Grand Blanc High School, West Middle School and McGrath Elementary School. Food is available for children 18 and younger.
Mount Pleasant Public Schools: Free meals will be offered on weekdays to students and anyone in the community from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. March 16 to April 3 at Mount Pleasant High School and Ganiard Library. Children 18 and younger are free while adults are $2 per meal.
Swartz Creek Community Schools: "We are prepared to deploy our school buses with grab-and-go lunches and breakfast meals to deliver to sites all over the district. More details on this will be forthcoming, but our plan is to deliver meals on buses to sites all over the community and also to have a “drive-through” concept at both our middle school and high school building. Meals and instructional packets will be delivered starting on Wednesday next week."
Montrose Community Schools: Lunch will be provided to anyone under 18 years of age during the weeks of March 16-20 and March 23-27. Lunch will be available from 11:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. at the following locations: Briar Ridge Golf Course, Brentwood Farms, Marshalls Crossing, Riverside Trailer Park, & the Hall of Fame Entrance at Montrose Community Schools.
Beaverton Police/Fire: A lunch program is being launched by public safety leaders to help students out of class in the Beaverton School District. Call or leave a message with the police department (989) 435-9111 or the fire hall (989) 435-9854 to let them know that you need help feeding your child. You can also send a private message via Facebook Messenger. The goal is to provide sack lunches to those who need it every weekday at the Beaverton Fire Hall from 11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. Delivery will be available if necessary.
Roscommon Area Schools: According to an employee, the district will be making sack breakfasts and lunches that will be delivered to the K-12 students via their bus routes and stops starting Monday. This will effort is expected to continue until school resumes April 6.
Revive Sips & Sweets: Starting Monday, March 16, the Holly business will provide free sack lunches for those without. No explanation is needed for kids 18 and under. The coffee shop and bakery is located at 1006 N. Saginaw Street. You can follow updates on Facebook here.
Jersey Mike's Subs in Fenton: The locally-owned deli is offering a special "Student Meal Deal" for $2.99. The effort is aimed at students in 1st-12th grade who are out of school because of the health crisis. The meal includes a regular sub, chips, and a drink. Customers in middle school and/or high school will be asked to show a student ID. Elementary aged children will not need to present any identification. The sub shop is located at 3409 Owen Road, Suite 100. Look for updates on Facebook here.
Catholic Charities Meal Programs: At last check, meal programs offered by this organization are still open at this time. That includes the North End Soup Kitchen (735 E. Stewart Ave., Flint), Center for Hope Soup Kitchen (812 Root St., Flint), and the South Flint Soup Kitchen (Lincoln Park United Methodist Church at 3410 Fenton Rd., Flint). Sack lunches are also prepared for distribution at three locations. Click here for more information.
The Warda Foundation: The Warda Foundation is launching a Lunch Supply Food Drive with donations being collected at The Barn at 715 Torrey Rd., Fenton. The goal is to create lunch supply boxes to give to families in need in the area. You're asked to make donations of foods and snacks (preferably self-stable) to help fuel the effort. Items can include bread, cereal, granola bars, peanut butter, dried fruit, boxed mac & cheese, ramen noodles, almond milk, canned veggies, and more. Follow the foundation on Facebook for updates.
Waterford School District Meet Up & Eat Up: Free meals will be offered Monday through Friday from 11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. at three locations: Riverside Elementary, Mason Middle School, and Kurzman Crary Campus (just look for the balloon!). The offering is a drive-through style meal for kids 18 and under only. Breakfast and lunch options will be available.
If you need assistance or want to help with donations, please visit the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan COVID-19 resources page online for more information. This statement was shared with the media: "The Food Bank is working with our partners to assist students and their families with food while school is closed. We will continue to make sure seniors can get food, and we are looking at additional ways we can provide food in the community if food pantries face long-term closures due to the outbreak."
The Michigan Department of Education obtained a waiver from the federal government allowing school food service providers to offer meals outside school buildings. No applications are necessary to participate.
Everyone is urged to practice good hygiene habits and be mindful of social distancing to help limit the spread of more coronavirus cases. Events of more than 250 people are also being forced to cancel under the direction of the governor.
"I know this will be a tough time, but we’re doing this to keep the most people we can safe," Whitmer said. "I urge everyone to make smart choices during this time and to do everything they can to protect themselves and their families."
If you hear of any other agencies or groups helping to feed children during the school closure, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.