Schools offer free lunch, breakfast programs as classes remain canceled

(Source: MGN)
(Source: MGN)(NBC15)
Published: Mar. 17, 2020 at 3:57 PM CDT
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As schools across the state are on hold for the next few weeks, some families now face a growing problem: providing meals for their children, that would otherwise come from their school district.

But while school may not be in session, but school


is in session at several school districts in South Central Wisconsin.

“So they can get lunch today, and then breakfast for them and their siblings tomorrow morning that they can refrigerate,” says Amanda Dawson, a paraeducator with Elm Lawn Elementary School.

On Tuesday, Dawson and two other volunteers took up shop at Kromrey Middle School, as part of the Middleton-Cross Plains School District initiative to help kids in need.

“If kids are home and parents have to work, then they don’t have to worry about making sure that food is ready. And they would have it if they were at school, so we’re just trying to be open with the community and help,” Dawson says.

Children 18-years-old and younger will be allotted one to-go package per day, including a lunch for the current day and breakfast for the following morning. Those eligible for the lunches include siblings of students in the district, who are not yet old enough to attend school.

“It’s nice to be a home with our families at this time, but it’s hard for all the kids that want to be at school,” Dawson says.

Kromrey Middle School is one of nine locations in the district offering free lunch to-go for the next few weeks.

to learn more about free lunch programs through the Middleton-Cross Plains School District.

Just 10 minutes south at James Madison Memorial High School, a similar plan is in place.

“We’re offering the meals Monday-Friday at this point in time,” says Steve Youngbauer, director of food and nutrition with the Madison Metropolitan School District.

The Madison Metropolitan School District has 12 remote sites that will offer today’s lunch and tomorrow’s breakfast.

to learn more about free lunch programs through the MMSD.

“It’s a new experience I think for many people here in the school district. And lots of people are putting forth a tremendous amount of support for our families,” Youngbauer tells NBC15 News. “Right now we’re doing a really good job of staying in close communication with our suppliers and vendors. They’re all obviously trying to do the best job they can as well. We also kind of got a bit of a jump on this, and were planning for this early on.”

When NBC15 crews visited both schools, only a handful of families made stops for to-go bags. District officials with both the Madison Metropolitan School District and Middleton-Cross Plains School District expect numbers to amp up over the next few days.

Both districts are expected to continue the free lunch program until Friday April 3. Classes are expected to resume the following Monday, on April 6. If the school opening is pushed back even further, officials say they will accommodate all students for as long as they are in need.

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