Free to-go meals for kids begins Monday
With the School District of Lee County extending its school closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Summer BreakSpot free meals program, a “grab-and-go” breakfast and lunch combination bag, has been activated with 24 school locations and eight community serving sites set up as of Wednesday morning.
The School District of Lee County Food & Nutrition Services Director Lauren Couchois said the schools and daily partners participating in the program grows by the minute. She said the program will operate through their normal summer feeding program.
The district was given a very specific special waiver to serve meals to children 18 years old and younger during the unanticipated school closure, Couchois said.
The Summer BreakSpot free meals program activation came from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and the Division of Food, Nutrition and Wellness Commissioner Nikki Fried.
Couchois said since Spring Break was normally scheduled for this time of the year, the meal service will not begin until Monday, March 23, which would be the day students would return from Spring Break. The plan is to continue the Summer BreakSpot program until the students return to school.
In a letter sent to parents Tuesday night, Superintendent Dr. Greg Adkins announced that schools would be closed until April 15 as per recommendations from the Florida Department of Education and the State of Florida.
The bags will be available from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. daily, Monday through Friday. Couchois said they are working through other agencies, such as the Harry Chapin Food Bank and United Way, for additional resources for those who cannot pick up the grab-and-go bags between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m.
She said the student, 18 years old and younger, must be present to receive the bag of breakfast and lunch items, which will not be screened for allergies. The bags will be issued at the bus ramps of each school, providing individuals with the opportunity to either drive, or walk up, to receive their meal. School Resource Officers will be on hand to help with security.
“They receive two meals in one bag. They must take the food off site upon receipt. They cannot eat on campus; they have to take it offsite to eat,” Couchois said of the bags which will include breakfast favorites and sandwiches for lunch.
With only two meals given at one time, the student has to return to the site every day during the given hours to receive another day’s worth of breakfast and lunch.
“We are planning for the highest number possible per site based on demographic information pulled from the summer feeding program,” Couchois said of the expected number of students the program will help. “The number will change as the weeks go on.”
She said the increase will come from potential extended school closure and people not working.
For the most up-to-date information about locations, visit www.leeschool.net, www.facebook.com/SDLCNutritionServices, or www.leeschools.net/our_district/departments/business_services/food_nutrition_services.
Couchois said the Facebook page is a great way for the public to stay up-to-date because it is typically updated hourly.
* West Zone: Cape Coral Elementary; Patriot Elementary; Hector A Cafferata; Tropic Isles Elementary and North Fort Myers Academy for the Arts
* South Zone: Allen Park Elementary; James Stephens International Academy; Ray V Pottorf Elementary; San Carlos Park Elementary; Pinewoods Elementary; Bonita Springs Elementary; Heights Elementary; Villas Elementary; Colonial Elementary and Ft. Myers Middle Academy
* East Zone: The Alva School; Orange River Elementary; Manatee Elementary; Mirror Lakes Elementary; Lehigh Acres Elementary; Tortuga Preserve Elementary; Riverhall Elementary and Gateway Elementary
* Lee County SFSP – Stars Complex
2980 Edison Avenue
Fort Myers, FL 33916
* Pine Manor Improvement
5546 Ninth Avenue
Fort Myers, FL 33907
* Boys & Girls of Pueblo Bonita
26095 Milagro Lane
Bonita Springs, FL 34135
* Boys & Girls Renaissance (HACFM Renaissance Preserve)
1623 Joust Street
Fort Myers, FL 33916
* Super Kids Club Cypress Lake
8260 Cypress Lake Drive
Fort Myers, FL 33919
* Wesley Super Kids Club
4141 Deleon St.
Fort Myers, FL 33901
* YMCA of Lee County (Royal Palm)
1360 Royal Palm Square Boulevard
Fort Myers, FL 33919