On this episode of the Food Podcast presented by Clearview Federal Credit Union, the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank talks about the upcoming school year.
Many teachers in the Armstrong School District are breathing a sigh of relief as school starts up, and it’s not just about seeing their students. For many, the summer is a time of worry, not knowing whether kids who rely on school lunches are consistently getting meals.
In the Armstrong School District, 68% of kids utilized the free and reduced lunches provided through a USDA waiver last year.
Meredith Bailey is the director of food and nutrition for Armstrong schools.
She said normally 46% of kids qualify for free or reduced breakfast and lunches, and being in-person is critical in knowing kids are actually getting enough food.
“You worry. With some students, you know that is the only meal they’re going to get for the day,” Bailey said.
The school district also has a backpack program that discreetly gives kids extra food to take home on weekends.
“We had a group of teachers who drove to 21 different families during the pandemic to deliver backpacks. It’s that big of a worry to us,” said sixth-grade teacher Trishia Dillick. “We worry if there’s even a snow day that kids won’t have anything to eat without school lunches.”
Dillick says the start of school is not just a time for teachers to meet students, but it’s also critical in helping to find kids who may need immediate food assistance.
The Armstrong School District’s first day of school is Aug. 25.
Listen: Why the first day of school is critical in getting families food assistance