In response to well-founded concerns that pandemic-related school closings in northeastern Connecticut would leave hundreds of students and families without adequate breakfasts and lunches each day, EASTCONN Food Services quickly shifted away from its brick-and-mortar school lunch programs, and focused instead on preparing and distributing emergency student meals.
Three days a week, in towns where EASTCONN Food Services runs in-school lunch programs, EASTCONN staff invite parents who may not have sufficient means to provide breakfast and lunch for their children, to pick up several days’ worth of nutritious, bagged breakfasts and lunches for student(s) and children in their care.
These complete meals include 4-piece breakfasts and 5-piece lunches; each containing, among other items, fresh fruit, fresh vegetables and milk. EASTCONN administers in-school breakfast/lunch programs in Brooklyn, Hebron, and at Sterling Community School, Pomfret Community School, Horace W. Porter, Scotland Elementary School, Hampton Elementary School, and in Bolton.
Through April 10th, 22 nutrition staff and 15 district staff had prepared and distributed more than 32,000 free meals to 750 families, covering 7 days’ worth of breakfasts and lunches.
“Our team is working hard to ensure that the children in our communities are not only getting their nutritional needs met, but will not go hungry during this unprecedented time,” said Heather Plourde, who directs EASTCONN’s Food Services program. “I am extremely grateful that we are able to help families and children who might otherwise go hungry. I am also very grateful to our dedicated Food Services and nutrition staff, who have worked tirelessly to quickly ramp-up this program to assist our school communities.”
Plourde said that she and her staff would continue to meet the growing demand, as word spreads that the meal option is available. In cases where families can’t leave their homes to pick up meals, EASTCONN Food Services staff are delivering meals directly to their doorstep.
Students in EASTCONN schools are asked to pick up meals at designated sites in their own hometowns. In the event that pick-up difficulties arise, parents/guardians should contact Heather Plourde at 860-455-1552 or firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange pick-up from one of the sites listed above or to make other arrangements.