Schools across Vermont may be closed because of the spread of COVID-19, but that doesn’t mean children will go hungry. In Rutland County, supervisory unions and school districts have mobilized to continue to provide breakfast and lunch to any child who may need it.
Depending on the town, meals are being made available for pickup at designated locations or are being delivered along existing bus routes.
On Wednesday, Melissa Alarie and her son picked up lunch from a Rutland City Public Schools bus stationed outside Mount St. Joseph Academy — just a short walk from their home on Forest Street.
“He rode his bike down,” she said.
Alarie said her son — a second-grader at Northwest Primary School — was excited to get home and enjoy his lunch, which consisted of a ham and cheese sandwich, cheese stick, carrots, fruit and Rice Krispies.
She said she plans on going every day while schools are closed.
“We don’t want to go to the stores and go out,” she said, “It’s a chance for us to go outside, get some fresh air, have a little exercise.”
Alarie, whose job at Vermont Country Store allows her to work from home right now, said she also enjoys the social aspect. Her husband works at Walmart, which is still open for business.
“It was nice to have a small conversation with another adult,” she said, noting that she enjoyed chatting with the school employees distributing the lunches from a safe distance.
RCPS is providing meals to any child younger than 18 living in the city. No application or prior approval is required.
Meals will be available from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday, at the following locations: Northeast Primary School, Northwest Primary School, Rutland High School, Rutland Intermediate/Middle School, Allen Street Campus, Mount St. Joseph Academy, Christ the King School, College of St. Joseph, Ocean State Job Lot and the Salvation Army.
Local schools will also serve as meal pickup points for families in the Slate Valley Unified Union School District.
Families with children in the district can pick up meals Monday through Friday, from 10 a.m. to noon, at Benson Village School, Fair Haven Union High School, Fair Haven Grade School and Orwell Village School.
The district is also looking into delivering meals along bus routes in the near future.
Families are asked to complete a form available at bit.ly/svmeals.
In the Mill River Unified Union School District, which serves the towns of Clarendon, Wallingford, Shrewsbury and Tinmouth, Superintendent David Younce praised district employees for an “incredible collaborative effort.”
He said around 35 employees are working on meal preparation and delivery each day. On Thursday, 1,800 meals were sent out to children in the district.
“It’s good, important work that will be ongoing to serve our kids and community.” Younce said.
Meals are being delivered along bus routes in towns throughout the district beginning at around 7:25 a.m. A detailed schedule is available at bit.ly/mrmeals.
Families may also pick up at the district office at Mill River Union High School from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Any child younger than 18 living in the Mill River community is eligible to receive one.
Younce said any leftovers will be donated or repurposed.
Families in the Greater Rutland County Supervisory Union, which includes the towns of Proctor, Poultney, West Rutland, Ira, Middletown Springs, Wells and Rutland Town, can pick up breakfast and lunch on Mondays (three meals each) and Thursdays (two meals each), from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m., at Proctor Elementary, Poultney Elementary, West Rutland School, Middletown Springs Elementary and Wells Village School.
Delivery is available to anyone unable to travel to a site.
Families are asked to complete a survey here bit.ly/grcsumeals.
Rutland Northeast Supervisory Union families may sign up for home delivery of meals or pick them up from 10:30 to 11 a.m. Monday through Friday at Neshobe School in Brandon, Lothrop School in Pittsford, Barstow Memorial School in Chittenden and Leicester School. Bus deliveries begin at 10 a.m.
RNESU serves the towns of Brandon, Chittenden, Mendon, Pittsford, Leicester, Whiting, Sudbury and Goshen.
Families needing meals should call 247-5757.
In Mount Holly and Belmont, which are part of the Two Rivers Supervisory Union, meals are being delivered to families along bus routes beginning at 9 a.m, Monday through Friday. Meals will also be available for pickup at Mount Holly Elementary School weekdays from 7:30 to 9 a.m.
Families were emailed surveys to complete if they wished to be included.
Meals for children living in Pittsfield are available for pickup at Stockbridge Central School from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday. Families should call 234-9248 for to order by 9 a.m. each day.
While other school districts serving the county also have meal distribution plans in place, details were not immediately available.
Families in the towns of Danby, Mount Tabor and Pawlet may contact the Bennington-Rutland Supervisory Union at 362-2452.
Killington families in need of meals may contact the Windsor Central Supervisory Union at 457-1213.