Curbside meal program resumes May 4
After a two-week break because of the statewide stay-at-home order, Hartselle City Schools is planning to reinstate its curbside meal pick–up program beginning May 4.
Superintendent Dr. Dee Dee Jones said the school system had to apply for a waiver to be able to provide meals after schools closed for the remainder of the school year because of COVID-19. Meals were packaged and distributed to all children 18 and younger.
During the downtime, HCS partnered with the Hartselle church of Christ to distribute meals to families. A total 210 meals were prepared for local families Monday at the church building on Sparkman Street. Associate minister Todd Barrier dressed as Batman to surprise the children as their families came to pick up the meals.
The school system to date has provided five breakfasts and five lunches to 450-500 students each week on average, according to Jenny Newton, who works as the Child Nutrition Program director for Hartselle City Schools. She said 38,500 meals in total have been distributed.
Newton said funds for the meals have come from a program called Seamless Summer Option. It’s a reimbursement program through the USDA that allows school systems to feed their students when school is not in session.
“A common misconception is that these meals are only for students who qualify for free and reduced lunches,” Newton said. “These meals are replacements for the meals all HCS students would receive if school was in session, so any child under the age of 18 is eligible.”
Newton said if a student has younger siblings who are not students yet, they are also eligible to receive the meals.
The prepackaged and precooked meals – breakfasts and lunches – will be provided May 4, May 11 and May 18 at Hartselle High School from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Newton said an entrée, such as a peanut butter and jelly sandwich (peanut–free option available for those with allergies), slice of pizza or corndog, along with bags of baby carrots, make up most lunches, and breakfasts usually include a grain and protein along with fresh fruit, cheese and yogurt.
“It’s done my heart good to see the students on the days we’ve passed out meals,” Newton said. “I’m proud of the school system, of the principals, CNP workers and those at the central office who have all worked together to be able to feed these kids.”
Newton said that those who wish to receive the meals can register online at www.hartselletigers.org.