Photo by Heather Vanderlaan
As soon as Grand Ledge Public Schools were shut down due to the coronavirus, the Food Services went into action and came up with a plan that keeps families safe and fed throughout this time. This plan was implemented the first Tuesday, Mar. 17, that school was out of session.
“We are serving breakfast and lunches two times per week at Beagle Elementary School. The pickup time is 10:30-12:00,” Darrin Gyurich, the Food Services Manager and coordinator of the meal pickup, said. “On Tuesday, we give out breakfast and lunch for Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. On Friday, we give out breakfast and lunch for Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday.”
This system guarantees that the kids are getting the meals they would have received if they were in school as well as have food through the weekend. The meals include milk, dry goods, and cold goods. The meals are passed out based on the number of students, not the number of families.
“When a car pulls up we ask how many students they have and then we give them that many items. The volunteer who is passing the bags put the food in [the trunk] of cars so there was no person to person contact,” Abigail Sliger, a first grade teacher and multiple time volunteer, said.
This has helped out many families in the district and is shown by the hundreds of meals passed out every pick up time. While the plan was first implemented to cater to students who receive free and reduced benefits, it is not exclusive to them. Families in need will not be turned away and can receive food without having received those benefits. Services like this create risks to everybody involved. The volunteers make sure to minimize those risks to the best of their ability.
“Safety is a big concern during this event so [volunteers] have to wash hands, wear gloves and masks and stay away from other people the best we can,” Sliger said.
All volunteers follow this set of guidelines and take any extra precautions they can. Even with these guidelines there are risks. However, the volunteers know that what they are doing is helping their community and continue to participate because of this.
While in this time of social distancing, nothing is as it should be. With school not in session, businesses have been shut down, and sports are non-existent, it feels as if the world has isolated itself. Grand Ledge Public Schools are doing everything they can to ensure that, while it may not be the same, everything that should have happened is happening in whatever way it can be. With dances, proms and graduations either postponed or cancelled, the handing out of food is just one example of this. It is imperative to stay safe and to stay healthy during this time.