“Everyone is scared. We are staying at home and I have an elderly mother,” she said.
The free meals, she said, “are going to help us a lot.”
Elizabeth Beadle, spokeswoman for the 6,300-student city school system, said the food distribution program to eligible school families was starting expectantly slow on its first day but the district expects the pace to pick up later this week.
“So far I’ve heard positive comments. I hope people continue to come out,” said Beadle of the program, which runs Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. at each of Middletown’s 10 school buildings.
Across Butler County and southern Warren County school district officials and teachers scrambled to provide not only meals but officials also advise parents to check their local public school district website for details on all available services while schools remain closed.
In Mason, district personnel have coordinated with local organizations to help school families with children at home.
“We need educators, students and families to concentrate on staying healthy,” said Mason Schools Spokeswoman Tracey Carson, in a notice sent out to parents detailing food, online learning programs and how families without laptops or internet access can obtain both.
Lakota Schools has installed a variety of programs and services to help its school families.
“Our child nutrition department will implement a schedule similar to its summer lunch program during the shutdown to provide breakfast and lunch for our students on free/reduced lunch,” said Betsy Fuller, spokeswoman for Lakota.
“We are working on a plan to expand this program to include both more drop-off locations, as well as an optional pickup location. More specific information will be shared with our families next week. We anticipate beginning the program following next week’s spring break, starting with lunch on Monday, March 23.”
Holli Morrish, spokeswoman for Talawanda Schools, said the changes brought on by the COVID-19 prevention measures has been jarring for many.
“I think a lot of people around the community are still in a bit of a shock. I think a lot of people don’t expect things like this to happen in their own communities,” said Morrish. “Kids are disappointed about the changes with athletics and clubs, and certainly they will miss the daily face-to-face connections with their friends.
“The comments I have heard the most from teachers is how much they will miss their students during this time.”