Shelton schools keeping students fed during coronavirus shutdown
SHELTON — Shelton students may not be in school, but many continue to have daily breakfasts and lunches meals thanks to the joint efforts of the district and Whitsons Food Service.
Last Friday alone, Whitsons provided 2,616 meals to 436 students, said interim Superintendent Beth Smith, adding that the district now has permission to not only provide meals Monday through Friday, but also on weekends.
Nearly 200 students were fed March 18, the first day of the food distributions. Since then, use of the program has exploded, providing food to families while schools are closed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Overall, 3,500 breakfasts and 3,500 lunches have been served.
“Many parents and students depend on school breakfast and lunch during the day,” said Smith. “During this public health emergency, families are challenged. This program provides all students with healthy meals.
“As the social distancing continues,” added Smith, “I expect the number of meals served to increase.”
Shelton schools closed March 13 until further notice. Under order from Gov. Ned Lamont, all schools in the state closed March 16, and cannot reopen before April 20. As of March 30, there were more than 2,500 confirmed cases in Connecticut, 34 in Shelton, with one elderly man the city’s first COVID-19-related death.
The district is working with Whitsons Food Service to offer bagged breakfast and lunch free of charge for all students 18 and younger enrolled in the Shelton public schools and Holy Trinity Catholic Academy. People are encouraged to bring their own bags to carry the food.
Smith credited Tara McQuillen and Rich Sanmann for their efforts in making the program a success.
“They are upbeat and greet everyone with a smile on their faces,” said Smith. “Sometimes, they are the only people that our recipients may see during the day.”
Smith said parents can pick up breakfast and lunch Monday through Friday while the schools are closed, between 9 a.m. and noon in the Shelton High School bus loop.
“During this time, the high school’s Meadow Street gates will be closed in order to keep the flow of traffic on Meadow Street moving,” said Smith. “All participants may enter and exit the high school grounds via the North Constitution Boulevard entrance.”
Smith asked parents to continue to check the district website and Facebook page on a regular basis for updates.