Every summer, when the school year ends and things slow down, Dalla Emerson and the other food service staff at Bowling Green Independent School District roll out a summer meals program. It’s a chance to escape the grind and connect with kids, said Emerson, who directs BGISD’s program.

This year, however, things are different.

Staff must stay on their guard while distributing meals amid a virus pandemic with a U.S. death toll that neared 100,000 as of Memorial Day weekend.

“We’re not going to be able to hula hoop with the kids like we normally do or blow bubbles,” Emerson said.

Still, Emerson hopes one important message doesn’t get lost in the changes around the district’s summer meals program this year: “Don’t go hungry.”

“If you need support, we are here for you,” she said.

Any child or teenager age 18 or younger is able to receive meal assistance through the program, and children do not have to be present at the distribution site to receive meals, according to the district’s website.

One big change this year is that meals will be delivered once each week every Thursday starting May 28 through July 30. Deliveries include seven breakfasts, seven lunches and one half gallon of milk for each child. Meal service delivery times will vary, according to the district.

Meals will also be served at designated school-based sites – though visitors will not be permitted to enter school buildings. Meals will be available outside on the sidewalk, just outside of the school’s kitchen area.

These open meal sites are available from 10:30 a.m. to noon on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday between May 26 and July 30 at the following locations:

  • Bowling Green Junior High School
  • Bowling Green Learning Center
  • Dishman-McGinnis Elementary School
  • Parker-Bennett-Curry Elementary School
  • T.C. Cherry Elementary School

For questions about meal service delivery times, contact 270-746-2200.

Likewise, Warren County Public Schools summer meals program is also gearing up for its return June 1 through July 30.

“The main difference in our program this summer is that we will not have congregant meals,” said Gina Howard, director of food services and nutrition for Warren County Public Schools.

Two school-based sites – Moss Middle School and Natcher Elementary School – will be available for drive-through meal service from 10 a.m. to noon on Monday and Thursday. These sites will provide a week’s worth of meals between the two days they are available.

Additionally, WCPS’ colorful School Bus Cafe will be making its usual stops this summer, offering meals each Monday and Thursday as well.

Howard said additional information will be made available through the district’s website and parents with questions should call the district’s central office at 270-781-5150.

– Follow education reporter Aaron Mudd on Twitter @BGDN_edbeat or visit bgdailynews.com.

Education reporter. Covers education and related issues, focusing primarily on the Bowling Green and Warren County public school districts and Western Kentucky University.

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