Keeping kids fed during school shutdown

Published: Mar. 17, 2020 at 4:25 PM EDT
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Tens of thousands of children across our region rely on schools, not only for their education but also for food. Now that schools are closed, that means changes are being made to how kids are fed. Our Adam Sullivan looks at how districts across the region are working to make sure nutrition remains a priority during the coronavirus pandemic.

The principal at the Samuel Morey Elementary School in Fairlee looks over the lunch and breakfast meals being left for families on the table out in front of the school.

"They are helping a lot and with the online schooling, it is nice. It's nice to have people out there like that," said Jessica Weeks of Fairlee, a mom to a first-grader and a third-grader.

Parents who can't make the 10 a.m. pickup in the Rivendell School District will have the meals delivered directly to their doors. It's a model-- in the wake of regionwide school closures-- that's being replicated across the region.

This year alone in Vermont, more than 32,000 students have been approved for free and reduced-price lunches. A spokesperson for Vermont Education Secretary Daniel French, who was unavailable for comment, says the secretary is strongly focused on helping schools make this transition.

Other leaders are echoing that message of support, like Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center CEO Dr. Joanne Conroy in a video update from the hospital.

"We need you to remain confident and optimistic. Remember, there are so many things that we as a community and do for others to help," Conroy said.

It's help that's coming during a time of need.

"It is just, it's just overwhelming," Weeks said. "Knowing that my kids and everyone else can get this, it's scary."

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