Tens of thousands of meals served to local children during pandemic

Submitted photo: Hendry County Sodexo Food Service employees focus on making and distributing nutritious meals while schools remain closed.

The way we educate our children has obviously experienced some drastic changes recently. But, working through the kinks of sudden online learning hasn’t been the only issue faced by school districts, since schools have been closed to help stop the spread of the coronavirus. Many children don’t just depend on their school for an education, but also for food. Also, unfortunately as many people are losing wages from being furloughed or have experienced layoffs, many more children are in need. Thankfully, staff at each of our area school districts are making sure to provide meals for any children who need them. In Hendry County, Sodexo Food Services reported that they served 19,690 meals in March, and 23,746 meals thus far in April. That makes a grand total of 43,436 since March 23, 2020. These meals, two per day per child, are available for pick up at several locations throughout the county.

In Glades County, schools like Moore Haven Elementary, West Glades School, and Moore Haven Middle and Senior High School have also been focused on making sure all Glades County students are fed during this pandemic. Two meals per day have been made available both through delivery at bus stops, as well as by pick up at several locations throughout Glades County. The Glades School District prepared and delivered 11,250 meals in March.

Operation Backpack has worked to fill in the gaps, during school breaks and weekends, and local families in need have been grateful for all of the assistance.

“Without all these agencies helping us feed our kids, we would be in some trouble for sure,” says Marisol Turner, of Clewiston, who received notice of an indefinite furlough on March 20, 2020. “We are so very thankful for all of the help.”

“The food is usually really good. I like the sandwiches and the juice the best!” says a young Glades student as she waits for the bus to deliver her meals.

Other agencies are working to makes sure no body goes hungry, too, Free bread and baked goods have been distributed weekly by Kiwanis’s Aktion Club In Hendry County, and drive through Food Banks are being set up in both Glades and Hendry. If you, or someone you know needs assistance in obtaining food, please reach out to United Way by dialing 2-1-1. They are standing by to help anyone in need.

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