The Pine Bush Central School District has received a $20,000 grant for its free children’s summer meal program from Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry Campaign.
This grant is to support the district’s critical work and continued efforts to bring nutritious meals to children in response to the coronavirus pandemic. There were numerous applicants and, after hearing about the district’s efforts to alleviate food insecurity and hunger, Pine Bush was awarded this grant.
While the school district buildings have been closed since mid-March and learning has been done remotely, the Food Services Department has continued to prepare breakfasts and lunches for all children aged 18 and under at no cost to families. District employees and volunteers have gathered at three locations throughout the district to distribute the meals to families who drive through to receive them. At first, distribution took place three times each week. Now, the distribution is done each Tuesday and Thursday, with multiple days’ worth of meals distributed each day.
Lyn Prestia, Food Services director, prepared a comprehensive plan for meal distribution when applying for this grant. Prestia and the Food Services staff prepare different types of meals for distribution - ready to eat and ready to heat. Breakfast meals include cereal and muffins, bagels, pancakes and waffles on a rotating schedule. Lunch meals include ready-to-eat hot entrees, like roasted chicken, pasta and meatballs and turkey with gravy, as well as hamburgers, pizza, sandwiches, salads and yogurt parfaits. All meals include fresh vegetables, fresh fruit and milk and meet USDA child nutrition guidelines.
“We are so pleased to receive this grant from the No Kid Hungry Campaign which will help us tremendously in helping to feed the children in our area,” said Prestia. “I encourage all families to take advantage of the food distribution by our district. Our food is freshly prepared and healthy. With everything that has happened with the coronavirus pandemic, we want to make sure that families are food secure.”
Prestia also noted that if someone has a food allergy or any questions, they should contact the Food Services Department at 845-744-2031 ext. 2809.
Summer meals are important for many kids
According to No Kid Hungry, a national campaign run by Share Our Strength which is a nonprofit working to solve problems of hunger and poverty in the United States and around the world, millions of children rely on their schools for regular meals. But in the summer, those meals disappear. No Kid Hungry is helping community leaders with the funding and know-how they need to start summer meals sites.
More than 11 million children in the United States live in “food insecure” homes, meaning there is not enough food for all family members to lead a healthy life, according to the United States Department of Agriculture.
That number pre-dates the coronavirus pandemic. Projections for the current year show that up to 18 million children could face hunger.
Distribution at two locations starting June 30.
Beginning June 30 and running through Aug. 13, no-cost children’s food distribution will be done in two locations:
Family Church at 510 M&M Road, Middletown
Pine Bush High School, 118 Route 302, Pine Bush.
Distributions days continue to be Tuesdays and Thursdays, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. On Tuesdays, three days’ worth of meals will be provided, while four days’ worth will be given on Thursdays. This curbside drive-through service is open to all children ages 18 and under. Families are allowed to pick up meals for other families. Children are not required to be Pine Bush Central School District students.