Any parent knows that feeding a growing child can be costly. Helena Public Schools will be offering free meals for children during their two-week winter break.
Parents need to sign up on the Helena school district website to pre-order their meals and are encouraged to place their order as soon as possible. Families will be able to pick up meals on December 23 and 30 at the location they signed-up for.
Robert Worthy, Food Service director for Helena Public Schools, says they won’t turn anyone away, but seven breakfasts and seven lunches each week for every child adds up and they don’t want to run out at a location.
The Helena School District has been serving free meals to the children in the community since March thanks to COVID reimbursement through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
“I could be any child from the age of one to eighteen. You do not need to be registered with the school district, you do not need to be free or reduced pay. You just need to have a child,” said Worthy.
The Helena School district has now served almost 300,000 meals to children at home since starting the outreach program with USDA support.
Worthy says they were initially worried about the roll out of the program, but they’ve come up with some creative ways to provide a balanced and variety of food options.
“Like last week we did turkey, gravy and mashed potatoes in a little aluminum container like you get at the store. We’ve done everything from fish to burgers to meats to salads and nachos. Anything we can figure out how to get to the families and keep it safe,” said Worthy.
The pandemic has been hard on many families this year, no matter their economic situation.
The Helena School District hopes any family that needs or wants help this winter takes advantage of the program and signs up to get meals for their children.