Local schools provide meals for children amid COVID-19 closures

Harrisonburg will provide a bagged lunch with two breakfasts and two lunches for children...
Harrisonburg will provide a bagged lunch with two breakfasts and two lunches for children twice a week | Photo: WHSV(WHSV)
Published: Mar. 16, 2020 at 12:23 PM EDT
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Late last week, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam

to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 novel coronavirus.

In the wake of that decision, local school district leaders have worked to make sure all students can continue to receive meals during the time they're away from school.

Below is a rundown of actions by our local school districts in the Shenandoah Valley and the eastern panhandle of West Virginia:


Harrisonburg City Schools will start up its mobile cafe and add drive-through systems at every school in Harrisonburg to make sure students are fed.

Andrea Early, executive director of school nutrition, said the mobile cafe will be handled differently than usual to make sure everyone stays at a safe distance.

Students will receive a bag with two breakfasts and two lunches in it every Tuesday and Thursday. As time goes on, more non-perishable food items will be added for families.

Early said a lot of community partners have come together to donate food items to the school during this time.

"This has been definitely a challenge. It's a new way to think about meeting the nutrition needs of kids in a time where, you know, we still need to try to stay apart a little bit, but that doesn't take away these nutrition needs," said Early, ""The outpouring of support from our community has really been amazing and overwhelming."

The drive-through will literally be a drive through where parents or guardians can come through with their children and staff hands them a bag per child. Every school in the district will be providing drive-through meals.

The mobile cafe will have the same route as usual, but it will only run on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The drive through pick up will also be on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Meals are provided for children up to 18-years-old, regardless of income level.

Parents or children can text the word "FOOD" or "COMIDA" to 877-877 to find out the mobile cafe location that is closest to them.

Here is Harrisonburg's schedule for locations:

Spotswood Mobile Home Park

1715 Country Club Court

11:00 a.m. - 11:15 a.m.

Chestnut Ridge

181 Chestnut Ridge Drive

11:25 a.m. - 11:40 a.m.

Deer Run

899 Port Republic Road

11:55 a.m - 12:10 p.m.

Mosby Heights

2510 Mosby Court

12:25 p.m. - 12:40 p.m.

University Place

36 South Avenue

12:50 p.m. - 1:15 p.m.

Broad Street Community Center

505 Broad Street

1:30 p.m. - 1:50 p.m.

Harris Gardens

215 Vine St

2:00 p.m. - 2:15 p.m.

Dutch Mill/Holly Court

97 Dutch Mill Ct

2:25 p.m. - 2:45 p.m.

Rockingham County:

UPDATE: Beginning on Monday, March 30, 2020, meals will be available on Mondays and Wednesdays (two days per week) from 4:00-6:00 p.m. at the same 9 schools listed below. Each child, ages 2-18, may pick up 2 supper and 2 breakfast meals (a total of 4 meals) on Mondays, and 3 supper and 3 breakfast meals (a total of 6 meals) on Wednesdays. This will require less time for families. Parents will also have to drive less and spend less on gasoline and yet the same total number of meals will be provided for each child per week.

Rockingham County Public Schools will be serving meals to children, ages 2-18, in the community while schools are closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Meals will be provided to all children without charge and are the same for all children regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability, and there will be no discrimination in the course of the meal service. Meals will be available for pickup, on a first-come, first-serve basis, at the following schools:

South River Elementary School, River Bend Elementary School, Montevideo Middle School, Fulks Run Elementary School, Pleasant Valley Elementary School, Plains Elementary School, Lacey Spring Elementary School, Ottobine Elementary School, and Pence Middle School.

Any child up to age 18 may visit any of those schools to receive up to two free meals. Each child who is present can pick up a breakfast and/or a supper meal.

Meals will be available for pickup between 4 - 6 p.m.

Meal services will begin on Wednesday, March 18, 2020, and will continue daily Monday through Friday until further notice.

No adult meals will be available (free or paid).

Page County:

The school system will be providing delivered meals to homes. All children 18-years-old and under will qualify for a free meal and they do not need to be enrolled in Page County Schools.

According to school leaders, delivery times will be announced when they begin on Tuesday, March 17, and will take place Monday through Friday.

Meal requests can be found

or you can text or call 540-860-0848 to leave a message with the address for delivery, number of children at the residence and any food allergies.

Augusta County:

Starting on Tuesday, March 17, Augusta County Public Schools are providing meals to any student.

"Grab and go" breakfasts and lunches are available for pick-up at all Augusta County elementary schools, Beverley Manor Middle School, and Buffalo Gap High School from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. each weekday.

According to the school district, any Augusta County family is allowed to visit whichever location is most convenient. Parents or students will need to provide the student's name, grade, and school when they arrive and may pick up two days worth of food per visit.

If families are unable to make it to any of the locations, school officials say they will do their best to deliver bagged meals to the bus stop associated with families' homes starting Wednesday, March 18.

Deliveries by school bus are scheduled for Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings each week.

To sign up for those, a family will need to contact one school by 3 p.m. the day before they would like the meals to be delivered. Be prepared to provide the student name(s), school, address, and phone number for all children.

You can find more details



Staunton Public Schools are providing a grab-and-go breakfast and lunch service for students at the 3rd Street entrance of Shelburne Middle School from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. on March 18, 20, 23, 25, and 27.

No application or income verification will be required.

Participants will be required to leave the site immediately after picking up meals.

You can find more on Staunton schools' response to the coronavirus



Starting Tuesday, March 17, breakfast and lunch options will be available for pick up from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.

They will be available on Monday's Wednesday's and Friday's. Children must be present to collect meals and all children aged 18 and over are eligible for service.

If you would like to participate, the school district asks that you fill out this

Shenandoah County:

Starting on Thursday, March 19, each middle school in Shenandoah County will have lunches available for pickup at their loading bays between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. every weekday, through at least March 19.

Students must be present to receive a meal to go.

Shenandoah County has extended its school closure to April 14, but as of now, will be unable to serve meals from April 6-13.

Officials are planning contingencies for that time period.

Kitchen staff will be handling trash and cleanup during the feeding program, so be sure to thank them.

Pendleton County:

As of Monday, March 16, Pendleton County schools made Grab-n-Go meals available at schools between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.

Students may pick up meals at any location, regardless of which school they attend, and all meals will be free to students.

Starting Wednesday, March 18, the district began also offering free breakfast and lunch through school bus delivery.

Meals will be delivered to the regular bus stops on a 3-hour delay schedule. For instance, if a child normally gets picked up by the bus at 7 a.m., the bus will arrive at 10 a.m.

Volunteers on the buses will help deliver the meals to students, alongside instructional packets from the schools.

If you haven't received a call from your child's school, you're encouraged to call the school, because meals are provided on a basis of those who request them.

Hardy County:

Hardy County Schools have meals available for pick-up for all students at all county schools from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. each day.

Starting on Thursday, March 19, the school district will also deliver meals for those that can't get to the schools to pick them up.

They say for parents or guardians to call their school for more information.

Other options

If a family is unable to receive meals from their local school district but in need of food, you can reach out to the

for assistance.