Schools provide free meals during COVID-19 closures

Brandon Paykamian • Mar 18, 2020 at 8:15 PM

After Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee’s recommendation Monday to close all public school districts for at least the remainder of the month, local schools rallied to continue providing free meals to students during closures.

Beginning Wednesday, Washington County Schools’ Nutrition Department began providing free lunch available for pick-up at four county schools each weekday for any child under 18.

At about 11 a.m., administrators said several families received free lunch at Daniel Boone High School, one of four sites providing meals from 10 a.m. to noon for district students along with David Crockett High School, Jonesborough Middle School and Boones Creek Elementary School.

“It’s us being able to help the community, and if there’s a need out there, we definitely want to fulfill it,” said Nila Babb, the prep kitchen manager at Daniel Boone.

Babb said employees provided breakfast and lunch for “however many children that need it.” For breakfast, families were provided with Pop-Tarts, apple sauce, orange juice and more. For lunch, families received peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, fruit, crackers and salads.

Washington County Schools joined other local districts providing meals during weekdays during school closures.

At Unicoi County Schools, drive-through services were available from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at each of the district’s four elementary schools. The district will also continue providing meals via bus routes. Buses will run their regular routes Monday through Thursday, beginning at 11 a.m. and stop at each bus stop to drop off meals.

Beginning on Tuesday, March 24, Johnson City Schools will have up to 20 feeding sites during school closures. Meals can be picked up from 10:45 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

The district will also have three food service vans and two activity buses that will deliver food to areas in the community. This service will be available free of charge for all children ages 2-18, even if they are not enrolled in Johnson City Schools. Locations and more information will be announced Friday.

For more information on each district’s closure plans and meal schedules, visit each system’s website.

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