Round Lake schools serve nearly 400,000 meals to students despite remote learning
Round Lake Unit District 116 has been keeping its student meal distribution going in spite of COVID-19, with 393,262 meals provided since March 16, including many delivered to neighborhoods by school bus.
The Grab-n-Go Meal distribution program has served 62,000 meals since the school year began last month.
District 116 serves the packaged meals out of eight schools and 12 mobile sites throughout the Round Lake area from 8 a.m. until noon, using buses to help distribute breakfast and lunches. Assistant Superintendent of Business Services Pam Kibbons is the program director and said that the meal distribution system was carried over from the school's efforts in the summer.
"I think in this national pandemic, everyone was just all hands on deck with what we needed to do to support our students," Kibbons said. "We want to always support learning potential and we know that their achievements will be impacted if they are hungry."
Round Lake's Director of Engagement & Community Relations Heather Bennett said the school makes breakfast and lunch available to all students because it meets the threshold for percent of low-income students under the state's Community Eligibility Provision.
Food is purchased from the company OrganicLife, which supplies dairy products, fruits and vegetables, and entrees. Meals might include bagels and grapes for breakfast and pizza or tacos for lunch, for example.
At the mobile sites, bus drivers distribute meal after filling out a health questionnaire and having temperature checks daily. Families can walk to pick up bags with the meals or the bus drivers will place the bags in drivers' vehicle trunks.
"We want to make sure that parents know we are taking their health and the health of their children seriously," driver Paullette Harris said. "This is very important to us."
Schools with food distribution are Beach, Ellis, Indian Hill, Murphy, Village, Round Lake Middle School, John T. Magee Middle School, and Round Lake High School.
Mobile pickup sites are Countryside Lane, Nicole and Karen lanes, Quaker Hollow Lane and Silver Oaks Drive, Cedar Villas Apartments, Meadow Green Lane, and Beverly Drive and Golfview Court in Round Lake Beach; Whitewood Park and Hickory Lane, Long Lake Drive and Nasa Circle, Rosewood Apartments, and Wildspring Road and Weeping Willow Road in Round Lake; and Round Lake Park Village Hall and Timber Creek Drive in Round Lake Park.