COVID-19

Littleton Public Schools to expand free meals for kids program

Breakfast and lunch provided at no charge to all youths 18 and under

Posted

As the COVID-19 crisis continues, Littleton Public Schools will keep feeding hungry kids.

The district will keep providing grab-and-go breakfasts and lunches for anyone 18 and under at no charge for the foreseeable future, said Katie Kerkhoff, a supervisor in the Nutrition Services department.

Though so far meals have been distributed from Field and East elementaries, Kerkhoff said the department is working on expanding to other locations, and even using school buses to deliver meals to other parts of the city.

LPS began distributing free breakfasts and lunches on March 16, after Superintendent Brian Ewert ordered all schools closed as part of efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Though the program was only scheduled for a week, officials decided to extend it as it became apparent the school shutdown would drag on — and as business closures began costing people their jobs.

“These are crazy times,” Kerkhoff said. “Nobody anticipated a shutdown of the city. For some kids, school might be one of the only places they have access to healthy food. For families without the means to stock up, these meals can make a big difference.”

The program was an immediate hit, Kerkhoff said, and as of March 23, food service staff were handing out upward of 150 meals a day from East Elementary, and up to 80 a day from Field.

Each meal includes a wide variety of healthy foods, Kerkhoff said, including sandwiches, fruit, milk and other items.

Though staff handed out meals every day during the first week, Kerkhoff said in future weeks, meals will likely only be handed out two or three days a week, though they will offer five days' worth of meals.

This isn't LPS' first experience with free meals for kids. The district also ran a similar program last summer in conjunction with South Suburban Parks and Recreation.

At East Elementary on March 23, a steady line of cars rolled up to a tent where nutrition supervisor Sarah Kinney handed out bagged meals.

Parent Erin Aldrich, whose two kids are in first and third grades, said the program is easing the difficulty of the age of quarantine.

“This whole thing took us by surprise,” Aldrich said. “I didn't have time to stockpile food. This is really nice, and we're really grateful they're doing it.”

Kinney said she's happy she can help.

“We hope we can take one more thing off peoples' lists,” Kinney said, wearing a face mask and gloves. “We hope we can be a light in dark times.”

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