THE Surrey School District’s school-based meal program will continue service on Monday, March 30, when classes were meant to resume following spring break.
While the district has suspended in-class instruction to curb the spread of COVID-19, all students that were previously receiving breakfast and lunch through the program will continue to receive meals at nine initial sites across the district.
“The continuation of the meal program during the pandemic was a priority for our district,” said Laurie Larsen, Chair of the Surrey Board of Education. “In light of what’s happening globally, we didn’t want our students or their families to have one more thing to worry about.”
Over 2,100 students in the Surrey School District rely on the district’s meal program, which provides breakfast and lunch to students in need. Before spring break, the program was providing breakfast at more than 61 schools, while lunch was provided at 31 sites. More than 3,800 meals are served each day of the school year.
“The program won’t look the same as it does on an average school day,” said Dr. Jordan Tinney, Superintendent of Surrey Schools. “But we’ve been able to adapt the program to safely continue providing nutritious meals for students who wouldn’t otherwise have access to a meal.”
The adapted program will operate out of nine schools initially, with a combination of drive-through and in-person pick up. Social distancing and other infection control practices will be closely followed. A single meal and snack will be provided with sufficient calories to cover both breakfast and lunch. The program will operate Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., and parents will be notified by their principals.
“Locations for our distribution sites for the adapted meal program were selected very carefully,” said Jacob Sol, Assistant Superintendent with Surrey Schools. “We considered factors including where the students accessing the meal program live, and how accessible and safe the surrounding walking and driving routes are. Our goal is to make sure students that rely on these meals continue to have access.”
Through principals, the program will stay in close communication with parents and guardians, and will make exceptions to the program delivery model as needed.
This modified “grab and go” meal program will have capacity to supply all students who are currently utilizing school-based meal programs from Monday, March 30 onwards. The program will initially operate as a pilot, with refinements expected once this adapted program goes live and the district deploys this new service model.
Supported by the Surrey Board of Education, the district’s school-based meal program is funded by Community Link grants provided by the Ministry of Education. Further funding is provided by generous donors. 100% of donated funds are used to purchase food for students in need. All staffing and administration costs are covered by the Surrey School District.
If you’re interested in becoming a donor to support this initiative, call 604-595-6066 or email [email protected]. A tax receipt will be provided for all donations of $25 or more.