SOUTH WHITLEY, Ind. (WFFT) - "Having three kids, that’s a lot of mouths to feed," Tricia Howard said.
The Howard family is one of many in Whitko Community Schools who are getting daily meals from the district.
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Howard said so far, "They’re doing a good job, a really good job actually of choosing foods that all the kids are going to enjoy. That really helps and takes the burden off my plate a little bit too."
Even before closing schools, Whitko Superintendent Dr. Brandon Penrod says the district discussed the best ways to provide meals.
"We, of course, talked about just having meals ready. They can come pick them up," Penrod said. "We weren’t real sure that would work for, say a second-grader who gets hungry, but can’t drive to the school. We decided that maybe that wasn’t the best idea. If we do something better, let's try to do better.
Eventually, they decided on meal delivery. It wasn't a new, 21st-century meal delivery service though. Rather, meals were being dropped off by the school bus drivers.
"Our cafeteria people, our Food Service Director, she jumped in, our Transportation Director as well and they’ve been working non-stop trying to figure this out with the logistics and they’ve done an excellent job of doing that," Penrod said.
The families sign up through a Google doc, Food services pack up lunches, load them on the school bus, and bus drivers deliver them to the families.
It does not matter whether the students are on free and reduced lunch or not. If you sign up, you get a meal.
The district is providing over 800 meals per day and that number grows every day.
They aren’t getting reimbursed for a single meal because they can’t both deliver meals and meet strict guidelines put in place by the USDA.
However, after a meeting this afternoon, the district decided that they would apply for a Summer Meals Option through the Indiana Department of Education, which would allow them to both deliver meals and be reimbursed for those meals that go to students who receive free and reduced lunch.
"We’ll always do what’s best for kids and what’s right for kids," Penrod said.
For families like the Howards, that means another meal for their kids.
If you want more information about your school district's meal service plan, you are asked to call the corporation office.