With the continuing spread of COVID-19, we’re living in uncertain times. Restaurants and bars are closed, people are working from home, and notably, schools are closed. Not only does this mean K-12 students in Whatcom County are missing out on classes, but it also means many are missing out on meals. Of the 29.8 million students who receive school lunches each day in the U.S., more than 67 percent, or 20.2 million students, receive lunch for free.
Here’s what local schools are doing to make sure no students go hungry:
The Blaine School District began putting together free school lunches for its students on Wednesday, March 18. Grab n’ Go meals are now available for pick-up in the parking lot at Blaine High School or, if a student lives further away, lunches will be dropped off along the regular bus route. These buses will also serve students in Pt. Roberts and Birch Bay (delivery routes are posted online). In addition to a lunch for the day, students will also receive breakfast for the following morning. The only requirement to receive a lunch is that the child must be under the age of 18 — they do not even need to be enrolled in the Blaine School District to get one.
While not solidified yet, the Bellingham School District has announced plans to start a drive-thru and/or delivery meal program on Monday, March 23, for all students in the district. Meals will be provided Monday through Friday for “as long as [the district is] able.” Each student will receive a lunch for that day as well as a breakfast for the following day. If parents or students have any questions, they are invited to fill out an online form.
The Ferndale School District announced that a meal program will begin on Friday, March 20, to serve all students in the district. Free meals will be distributed at Ferndale High School, Central Elementary School, Horizon/Eagleridge Campus, Custer Elementary School, Skyline Elementary School, Cascadia Elementary School, and North Bellingham Learning Center on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Families may pick up their meals from whichever location is most convenient. Each pick-up includes a lunch for that day, as well as breakfast and lunch meals for all weekdays in between the next pick up date.
On Wednesday, March 18, superintendent of Lynden Public Schools, Jim Frey, sent out a letter to families explaining that school lunches would be available for pick up the following day. Each day, students under the age of 18 will be able to pick food up from various schools around the district, including Bernice Vossbeck Elementary School, Fisher Elementary School, Isom Elementary School, and Lynden Middle School.
Administrators in the Mount Baker School District have set up a “Reverse the Baker Bus” meal delivery program which will drop off meals for students along designated elementary school bus routes. Announced over Facebook on Tuesday, March 17, the buses will deliver food on Tuesdays and Fridays of each week, with each drop providing enough food for three days of breakfast and lunch. Students 18 and under are welcome to pick up lunches regardless of whether they’re enrolled in Mount Baker’s free lunch program.