ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — After the Florida Department of Education directed schools across the state to shut down for two weeks due to coronavirus related concerns, some families are now searching for ways to ensure their children don’t go hungry.
The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) reports, during the 2018-2019 school year, Florida schools served more than 286 million school lunches.
Of those, more than 245 million were free or reduced price lunches.
Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried announced on Sunday her department has activated its Summer Breakspot website to help families find where they can receive free meals for kids under 18 during coronavirus school closures.
To find sites in their area, families must visit the website and enter their zip code. A map will show all the areas within a 5-50 mile radius that are distributing food.
“Social distancing and avoiding crowded areas, like school cafeterias, are critical to slowing the spread of COVID-19. But we can’t let Florida’s children go hungry in the meantime,” Commissioner Nikki Fried said. "For many children, these meals will be the only meals they can count on, so we’re encouraging families to take advantage of this service.”
There are currently 934 active BreakSpot sites in the state of Florida.
Schools in the Tampa Bay area are set to re-open on April 15.
As 10News hears back from each school district, this story will be updated.
Here is what your school district is doing to make sure students are fed:
Students can get a meal from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Monday, March 16, through Friday, March 20. Children must be in the car to receive a meal.
Meals include one breakfast for the next day and one lunch.
The distribution sites are:
- Crystal River Primary - Crystal River (front of school)
- Forest Ridge Elementary - Beverly Hills (behind the school, back parking lot)
- Pleasant Grove Elementary - Inverness (Bus ramp on side)
- Citrus High School - Inverness (Stadium road/Cafeteria entrance)
- Central Ridge Elementary - Citrus Springs (Bus ramp)
- Lecanto High School - Lecanto (towards Crest School)
- Rock Crusher Elementary - Crystal River/Homosassa (front of school)
The school district is currently working on locations for distribution but will be providing students who qualify with a grab and go breakfast and lunch.
Meal distribution will begin the week of March 23-27.
Pre-packaged meals, lunch and a breakfast for the next day, will be available from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. from Monday, March 23, through Friday, March 27.
Families are being asked to fill out a form for officials to gauge how many meals they will need.
- Crews Lake Middle School – 15144 Shady Hills Road, Spring Hill
- Fivay High School – 12115 Chicago Avenue, Hudson
- Gulf Middle School – 6419 Louisiana Avenue, New Port Richey
- New River Elementary School – 4710 River Glen Boulevard, Wesley Chapel
- Pasco High School – 36850 State Road 52, Dade City
- Sunray Elementary School – 4815 Sunray Drive, Holiday
- Zephyrhills High School – 6335 12th Street, Zephyrhills
As part of Pinellas County Schools emergency plan during school closures, the district will provide prepackaged lunch and breakfast to students from March 23-March 27.
That's the week students would have returned to school after spring break.
Meals will be packed and delivered from Walter Pownall Service Center. The meals will be cold and meet the USDA nutritional standards. The district is working with the Tampa Bay Network to End Hunger to help reach more students and families who need assistance.
- Meals will be served “Grab & Go”
- Lunch and (breakfast for the next day) will be served in a single bag
- Meals are FREE for anyone 18 years old and under
- Child/Teen must be present to receive meals
- Meals will be served as “Drive-Thru” at the car/bus circle. Walkers should go to the Main Entrance of the School
Distribution Points and Times:
- Dunedin Elementary- 900 Union Street, Dunedin at 10:45-11:45
- Eisenhower Elementary- 2800 Drew St. Clearwater at 11:00-Noon
- Marjorie K. Rawlings Elementary- 6505 68th St. N Pinellas Park at 11:00-Noon
- John Hopkins Middle Schoo - 701 16th St S St. Petersburg at 10:30-11:30
- New Heights Elementary- 3901 37th St. N St. Petersburg at 10:45-11:45
- Ponce De Leon Elementary-1301 Ponce de Leon Blvd. Clearwater at 11:15-12:15
- Southern Oak Elementary- 9101 Walsingham Rd. Largo at 11:15-12:15
- Tarpon Springs Elementary- 555 Pine St. Tarpon Springs at 10:30-11:30
- Fairmount Park Elementary- 575 41st St S, Saint Petersburg at 10:15-11:15
For more details, visit: https://www.pcsb.org/coronavirus
Students 18 and under will be provided lunches by Polk County Schools during the closure.
The distribution will be similar to the procedures they follow during the summer.
A law enforcement officer and school safety guardian will be present at each meal distribution site to ensure safe and orderly preparation and distribution of meals.
Each distribution site will be from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. Children must be present to receive a meal and the meal cannot be consumed on-site.
Schools will have a drive-up process to provide students with meals; no one will need to get out of their cars. Anyone who does not have a car will have access to a walk-up section.
Meal distribution locations can be found here, held from March 17-20.
Hardee County Schools are inviting all of their students to go to their school’s parent drop-off area to receive lunch and breakfast for the following day.
“Any child that arrives to our schools will be offered meals regardless of whether they are public school students, private school students, home schooled students, or virtual school students,” the district said.
Students and parents will stay in their cars while the meals are distributed. Pickup times will be announced on March 18.
Meal distribution will begin the week of March 23-27.
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