To go, go, go: GISD hands out more than 22,000 meals

Cindy Dulock, a cook at Robert E. Lee Intermediate School, hands out free meals Thursday morning, April 2, at Thomas A. Edison Elementary School, 1 Edison Drive.

Changes are coming to the Gainesville Independent School District’s free meal program.

Starting Monday, May 18, free meals to Gainesville children 18 and under will be available for pickup from 8 a.m. to noon only at Thomas A. Edison Elementary School, 1 Edison Drive, according to district spokeswoman Leslie Crutsinger.

Until this week, meals had been available at both Edison Elementary and Gainesville Junior High schools.

Meals provided through the drive-thru service are breakfast, lunch, snack and dinner, said Aramark Child Nutrition Director Corey Ray.

Gainesville ISD purchases its food through Aramark.

Meals passed out are similar to what children would be served if at school. For lunch, frozen items are provided with instructions on how to heat and serve. Dinner is typically a “cold sandwich or wrap,” Ray previously told the Register.

On Fridays, children will also be handed meals to get them through the weekend, Ray said Wednesday, May 13.

You don’t have to be a student of Gainesville ISD to be eligible for free meals. The meals are available to any child 18 and under. If the child is present and in the car, they can get a day’s worth of meals. However, if the child is not present, the parent needs to show some form of identification, such as a birth certificate, to prove they are the parent of the child on whose behalf they’re picking up meals, according to a previous report in the Register.

Crutsinger said that there will be no meal service on Memorial Day, Monday, May 25. Parents or guardians of children can stop by Edison Elementary on Friday, May 22, to pick up meals for four days, she said.

The drive-thru meal service began when students were not allowed to go back to school after Spring Break because of the coronavirus pandemic. Gov. Greg Abbott is not allowing schools to reopen for the 2019-2020 school year.

COVID-19, which stands for coronavirus disease 2019, is caused by a novel coronavirus named SARS-CoV-2. It first appeared in late 2019 in Wuhan, China.

The district has passed out 85,606 free meals to children in the community since March 23, Crutsinger said Wednesday.

Crutsinger said 2,400 of the district’s 3,079 students are enrolled in the district’s free or reduced-price meal program.

The program, with drive-thru only service at Edison Elementary, is expected to run through June 30, she said.

Summer meal service information for July was not available as of press time.

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