District 225 meal program to continue through summer
Officials at Glenbrook High School District 225 quickly recognized that the COVID-19 pandemic would affect families in many ways.
As schools closed in March and programs ceased, they determined ending the food service for students would have a big impact. Within a week of the schools closing, a grab-and-go program was developed in partnership with Quest Food Management Services.
Lombard-based Quest has six employees preparing and distributing meals at Glenbrook South High School, 4000 W. Lake Ave. in Glenview.
Parents and students can pick up two breakfast and two lunch meals on Mondays and three breakfasts and three lunches on Wednesdays between 8 a.m. and noon at the school. A drive-through lane and pickup door are marked.
The prepared meals contain fresh fruits and vegetables, sandwiches or wraps, bagels, cereal and muffins. Workers change up the menu throughout the week and vegetarian options are available. . About 650 meals are given on Mondays and 850 on Wednesdays.
Quest district manager Rebecca Cohen says workers follow all of the safety measures including temperature checks, hand washing, wearing of masks and gloves.
"We are delivering it to their cars, less contact delivery. Going more contactless to keep not only the community safe but our staff safe" Cohen said.
Cohen added that parents and students appreciate the free meals as it's one less thing to worry about.
Assistant Superintendent for Businesses Services R.J. Gravel said the free meals started only for families that qualified for the student financial assistance program. Then the Illinois State Board of Education approved expanding the program to any family that could identify as experiencing financial hardship.
"The Glenbrook high schools recognize that all students need to have access to nutrient-rich meals to fulfill their most basic needs. Providing meal service throughout this difficult time ensures that access to meals is not a barrier to our student's success" Gravel said.
Officials have since invited families from area elementary districts. Families in Northbrook Elementary District 27, Northbrook/Glenview Elementary District 30, West Northfield Elementary District 31 and Glenview Elementary District 34 can participate.
Gravel said the free meal program will continue through the summer and until school resumes in a face-to-face environment.
"Should any family in our community be unable to provide meals for their school-age children, or be experiencing financial hardship at this time, we strongly encourage them to participate in our meal service program," Gravel said. "No applications or forms need to be filled out in order to pick up meals at this time."