CPS provides Grab & Go meals for students
COLUMBIA - Columbia Public Schools are providing a Grab and Go meal bus program for students.
The program began back in the spring when classes went virtual for CPS students. They began the program again when classes went virtual for the first two weeks of the fall semester.
The buses travel the same bus routes from the summer and spring meal deliveries. There are eight bus routes that travel around Columbia to about 80 different locations.
CPS Communications Manager Aurora Meyer said the routes were made strategically.
"Similar to how we did it in the spring, we looked at just strategically high need areas," Meyer said. "CPS families are really encouraged to use the locator tool on our website, as well as find a stop close to them. If they need a different stop or if that time doesn't work for them, they can go to any of the schools that are located on that finder tool as well."
The meals are available for any child between the ages of 2 and 18. The meals include breakfast and lunch, one milk and a fruit and/or vegetable.
Meals have some perishable and non-perishable items. They also have alternative meal options for allergies and dietary restrictions.
One CPS mom, Cara Drysdale, said she decided to use the program for the first time on Monday, and she was happy with the results. She works from home as well, and sometimes she doesn't always time to meal prep.
"I just think it's really great," Drysdale said. "I think they made it fairly simple to put together when you got home. I know cooking the peas and chicken may not be convenient for everyone, but I know that they do different meals where you don't have to cook."
Drysdale said she was once a teacher, so she thinks this program is really important because sometimes the meals provided at school are the only meals that some kids get.
"I know it is really important for those families who don't have, you know, help in other resources," Drysdale said. "And now because we have online school, they are not getting that lunch that their kids normally get."
She expressed how important it is for kids to have food throughout the day, not just for their health, but also for learning.
"A kid can't really learn very well if they're hungry," Drysdale said. "And if they're hungry, they can't soak in what they need to learn from the teacher."
Meyer said she understands the importance of this program for students and families.
"We have a number of students that rely on these meals everyday, and so that we can still get those to them is really important to us," Meyer said.
According to Meyer, CPS hands out about 2,000 meals per day, which is about 10,000 meals per week.