Hutchinson Schools Served 112,832 Meals During Distance Learning
By Lesli Mueller, Director of Child Nutrition
For the last two and half months Minnesota Public Schools have put students, parents, teachers, school administrators and staff into uncharted territory. Distant learning, social distancing, flattening the curve and shelter-in-place has become some of the common terminology to guide all of us in the preventive spread of Covid-19. Feverish hand washing has become the daily norm together with singing familiar jingles to keep track of the 20 seconds recommended for hand washing. School breakfast and lunch pivoted from students being served in the cafeteria to picking up meals from drop off sites through the Summer Feeding Program. All under the directive of our Governor’s orders.
June 8 was the kickoff to continue the Summer Feeding Program and pick up where it left off at the end of school for meal distribution. This assures children and teens will have access to free nutritious meals while school is not in session over the summer. The running program is made possible by Hutchinson Public Schools, Common Cup and Hunger Free McLeod coming together to serve our community of families. The USDA provides the funding for breakfast and lunch, which are designed to meet their guidelines.
Pizza, chicken bites, Gyros, cheesy bread, taco in a bag and BBQ pulled pork sandwiches are menus students will be able to enjoy all summer long. The variety of pickup meals offered for a five-day week is attributed to some of the food coming to you frozen. You will find on our school website links to simple preparation instructions and ingredients of the frozen entrees as well as information on properly storing foods. Also on the website, is the meal order form accessible Tuesdays and Fridays to order bundled meals. Friday’s order form is for picking up meals on Monday and receiving a 2-day meal package. Tuesday’s order form is for picking up meals on Wednesday and receiving a 3-day meal package. The meal packages will ONLY be distributed on Mondays and Wednesdays containing both breakfast and lunch. Meal pick up sites will be at the back of Park Elementary near the bus lane from 11:00 am-12:00 pm and the back of Hutchinson Middle School near door 13 from 11:15 am-12:15 pm. All meals during summer food service are provided free for any child that is 18-years-old and younger. Students do not have to be enrolled in Hutchinson Public Schools in order to participate.
The Summer Meal Program will run June 8 through August 14, excluding the week of June 29 – July 3 for observance of the Fourth of July holiday week. In previous years, children ate the free meals on-site, but as a result of the guidelines in place during the pandemic, USDA is now letting them take the meals home to eat. Close to 650 meals were served out to community kids on June 8. I strongly encourage families to continue taking advantage of this great program to help ease some of the stress of these difficult times we all are experiencing. Feeding kids is what this program is all about.