Just before 9 a.m. last Wednesday, 75 cars were in line at Bon Air Middle School to pick up meals for their students while school was out of session.
Bon Air was one of three sites in Kokomo where parents could drive through to pick up 10 meals for the week. When the food drive kicked off at 9 a.m., organizers were ready. One set of volunteers took the names, ages, and schools of the children, while farther up the line, other volunteers loaded the takeaway meals into the parents’ vehicles.
The volunteers had a system, and it was effective. The vehicles were getting through the line quickly, as new ones continued to join it.
“We’re quicker than Chick-Fil-A,” yelled Bon Air Elementary School Assistant Principal Lyndi Smith as she worked the lines.
Amanda Shelby was one parent in the line, picking up meals for her two children, ages 9 and 14.
“This is great with all that’s going on right now,” said Shelby. “It gives us a little boost to help us get through until we can get our paychecks, especially with the grocery stores being bare right now. We absolutely need it. It’s a blessing.”
Cheyenne Denudt, a parent of two Bon Air students, also was thankful for the meals.
“It’s really useful. We didn’t really prepare for anything because we didn’t think it was going to get this bad, so these are honestly really helpful to make sure my kids are fed,” she said.
Another parent, Chelsee Morris, said food had been a struggle in general, so the meals were appreciated. Morris had her son alongside her, as she said he already missed school and was hoping to see some of his friends.
Last week, Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb announced schools must remain closed until May 1, and Kokomo Schools will continue to offer the takeaway meals at the three designated sites to any Howard County student on Wednesdays through then.
Last Wednesday, the school prepped 1,500 bags of food – which contained food for five breakfasts and five lunches – and they were all given away. Information was taken from an additional 300 parents who didn’t receive bags, and Kokomo Schools worked to get meals to those families by the end of last week.
Among the menu items in the meal packages were milk, mini pancakes, French toast, strawberry bagels, banana bread, cereal cups, mini waffles, fresh fruit, fruit cups, fruit juice, ham sandwiches, juice, fresh vegetables, chef salads, and turkey sandwiches.
Elaine Brovont, Kokomo Schools’ food services director, said the meals were important to families during this time when students are out of school.
“I can’t imagine how scared and uncertain it is for families, and just to know that the kids are going to be able to eat 10 meals a week … and to have at least one thing on their huge list of worries marked off has to be huge,” Brovont said.
Students and families can pick up the meals on Wednesdays through May 1 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Bon Air Middle School (2796 Apperson Way North), Central Middle School (303 E. Superior St.), and Maple Crest Middle School (2727 S. Washington St.).