After providing more than 86,000 breakfasts and lunches to students during the COVID-19 school shutdown, Oak Lawn-Hometown District 123 has decided to continue the service through summer. Families can pick up student meals at Oak Lawn-Hometown Middle School from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. each weekday at no cost.
At the start of the shutdown in March, the district was providing nearly 1,000 meal packs each day. Each meal pack includes breakfast which consists of cereal, and a nutritional cookie, and lunch which includes a vegetable, the main entree, and a snack, with a carton of milk. If the lunch requires reheating instructions are also given in the bag.
“District 123 and Arbor have a strong desire to provide students with healthful, nutritious meals which assist students in achieving both their educational and personal objectives. We are grateful for the flexibility and responsiveness Arbor demonstrated in quickly putting together a program that met the needs of our students. In times of difficulty during the COVID-19 crisis, the positive relationship our organizations had cultivated really delivered efficient and positive outcomes for the larger D123 community,” said Dr. Mike Loftin, Assistant Superintendent of Business at District 123.
The district is reimbursed for the cost of the meals through the national school lunch and school breakfast programs. Continuing to provide free meals during the summer was as obvious for the district as offering them was at the beginning of the shutdown.
“The USDA and ISBE approved waivers which allow for all students to receive free breakfast and lunch which could be served outside of the cafeteria and not during regular hours of service. We wanted to take advantage of this opportunity to support our families during a time of uncertainty and stress and the Grab and Go meal program was the perfect vehicle to do so,” Loftin said.