When COVID-19 threw the world for a loop in 2020, one of the unanswered questions was how children — including many who depend on schools and child care facilites for meals — were going …
When COVID-19 threw the world for a loop in 2020, one of the unanswered questions was how children — including many who depend on schools and child care facilites for meals — were going to be fed.
Schools quickly moved from serving hot meals to drive-through lines for grab-and-go bagged meals, while those children in other programs, like day cares, were eligible to receive meals through other partnerships. Those continued through the end of the school year and most were renewed until the end of the 2020-21 school year.
In Park County School District 1, the partnership was with Powell Valley Healthcare. The school district alone served 235,521 meals to kids through the end of May, according to Mary Jo Lewis, the coordinator of business services for the district. Clark Elementary will continue to feed children until Wednesday.
Powell Valley Healthcare partnered with PCSD1 to serve eligible children outside the schools. The partnership began feeding children in September, according to Travis Tucker, nutrition services director at PVHC.
Tucker said the PVHC program reached kids who were too young for school, in day care, preschool or homeschooled.
“We saw an average of 100 meals put out a day and as of today [Thursday] we have handed out 15,798 meals with one day left to go,” Tucker said.
In June, the meal program will, like many other areas of life, resume some semblance of normalcy. It will become the summer food service program as a separate provider under the auspices of and approved by the Wyoming Department of Education.
There are Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA) helpers for the program; Gabri Lundberg, who is in her fourth year, and Yogi Sullivan, who has volunteered at the food program before and this year has joined VISTA.
The summer feeding program begins today (Tuesday) and is open to all children less than 18 years old. The lunch meal is free to children and discounted for adults.
It will be held in two locations: at the larger picnic complex at Homesteader Park behind the Powell Aquatic Center and at the north end of Powell Valley Care Center on Grand Street. Hours of operation are from noon to 1 p.m. each weekday and there is no sign up required.
The summer feeding program will continue until Aug. 6.