MASSENA — Five days of breakfast and lunch meals that have been distributed by the Massena Central School District since March because of the COVID-19 pandemic will continue throughout the summer, but will be expanded to seven days.
Superintendent Patrick Brady told board of education members Thursday that the program offered during the school year ended on Monday, the official last day of the academic year, and the summer meal program would begin on June 29.
“We’re not taking too much time off on that,” he said.
Mr. Brady said they had started to see a decline in the number of meals as the school year drew to a close.
“We were over 600. Now we’re around 500. But we are going to start the summer meal program on June 29th,” he said.
Since the closure of schools in mid-March, the district’s food service employees have prepared the meals and bus drivers have delivered them to five locations around the village while students were spending their academic days at home.
When school is out for the summer, the district usually offers breakfast and lunch to participants in the Massena Joint Recreation Department’s summer recreation program. But that program’s regular activities have been canceled this year.
Distribution will be on Mondays during the summer and will be for the full seven days each week rather than the five that had been served.
“Under state guidelines, we can get a waiver where we can actually give a seven-day meal pack out to our students. This is being coordinated through our food service program, through the BOCES (Board of Cooperative Educational Services) food service and through transportation,” Mr. Brady said.
He said the St. Lawrence County Transportation system will help deliver the food or get individuals to the spots where it is being distributed.
“We can’t do the five stops we’ve been doing because we don’t have the refrigeration to do it in the summer. So we’re having one location in front of the high school. We’ll also be delivering the food out to the community center on that side of town and down to Jefferson Elementary on that side of town,” Mr. Brady said.
He said they would also continue to deliver to homes as needed.
“We had about 45 families where we were delivering food to their houses. That’s going to continue this summer as well,” he said.
The deliveries are made to those who indicate they don’t have transportation to pick up the meals.
“They requested it and didn’t have the transportation, so we deliver. Al Rowledge (transportation director) packed it all in a Suburban this year and delivered to the 45 homes,” Mr. Brady said.