District expands popular school meal program to weekends
The Newberg School District has expanded its summer school lunch program to include the delivery of meals on weekends.
The program is open to anyone age 18 and under and allows youth to pick up one of the district's "grab-and-go" breakfasts and lunches on Fridays for the weekend. The weekend lunches are in addition to the meals available to students Monday through Friday.
"You can pick up a bag for Friday and a bag for the weekend," a release from the school district said. "Each weekend bag will contain two breakfasts and two lunches."
Included in the bags will be things like cereal, pancakes, apples, oranges, raisins, cranberries, tuna sandwiches, bean and cheese burritos, vegetables and milk, according to the school district.
"We want everyone to not have to worry about food, so please come and pick up your food bag," the release said.
District officials said they will continually adjust how many breakfasts and lunches they make based on demand. "Please be patient if we happen to run out," the release said.
The number of meals distributed weekly is increasing every week, said Gregg Koskela, district communications and community relations coordinator, in an email.
"This past week, we averaged 2,040 meals every day," he said. "For the first time, we distributed meals for the weekend, which was an additional 3,880 meals. Over 14,000 meals distributed this week total! We're really proud of our team's hard work."
Koskela added that the program is running smoothly and is popular in the community.
"We are noticing an increase each week and expect that will continue as more people feel the pinch from the economy," he said. "We are continuing to increase production and do apologize when a particular site runs out of food for the day."
The lunch program began March 16, the first day of the school closure ordered by the state, and was spearheaded by Shiloh Ficek, the district's nutrition service coordinator.
"We started with five sites and breakfasts was only at Edwards (Elementary School)," Koskela said, adding that state and federal funds pay for the program. "Then on April 1, we expanded to 16 sites, with breakfast and lunch at each one. We started delivering meals the week of April 6 and that's been slowly increasing."
The future of the breakfast/lunch program depends on the actions of the state, Koskela said.
"We always have a summer lunch program and will have something (this year)," he said. "We do not know the exact directives from the governor of what funding will look like, so we aren't sure yet if we can keep meals at this same scale."
Students, and their parents, can pick up meals from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. at Ewing Young Elementary, Mabel Rush Elementary, Mountain View Middle School, Newberg High School, Chehalem Valley Middle School, Edwards Elementary School and Dundee Elementary School.
Other locations where meals may be picked up include from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. at the Chehalem Armory, St. Michael's Church, Spring Meadow Park, Gladys Park, Tom Gail Park, the aquatic center and the Newberg Public Library. Jaquith Park and Deskins Commons has meals for distribution from 10:30 to 11 a.m. each day as well.
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