Unified School District of De Pere serves thousands of meals through Free Meals for Kids program

Local News

DE PERE, Wis. (WFRV) — When the De Pere Unified School District announced plans to move all learning online at least through October 12, the district’s meal service employees shifted their focus to distributing breakfast and lunch curbside.

“Their numbers are climbing quickly,” Dawn Foeller, Director of Business Services for the district told Local 5.

Wednesday afternoon, the De Pere Middle School parking lot was busy with parents stopping by to pick up five days’ worth of breakfast and lunch.

According to Foeller, Wednesday the 23rd just over 200 families registered to pick up meals.

This Wednesday, 440 registrations were made.

“It’s all hands on deck,” Foeller said of the effort, “so we have everybody preparing food so that we can get it out to our students to make sure they get a healthy and nutritious meal each day.”

The service is a part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Free Meals for Kids program, which usually provides meals during the summer.

On August 31st, the program was extended through the end of 2020.

“It actually catered right into us going virtual, because it doesn’t matter which platform our students are on, whether they’re in school, blended, or virtual, they can always get a good nutritious lunch,” Foeller explained.

The district made the move to fully online instruction on September 28th.

“With the length of time that the pandemic is going on, people just need more resources and this is one way that they can get food to provide for their families,” Foeller said.

In addition to the bulk pick-up, the district also offers daily breakfast and lunch curbside.

Numbers for that program are also on the rise.

“This week is going to be a busy week for our food service,” Foeller said. “We could hit over 10,000 lunches and breakfasts, just this week.”

It’s a big job for those food service employees

“I can’t tell people enough how much they care about our constituents and our students and making sure that they all have a good lunch and breakfast,” Foeller said.

The district’s meal program is open to any child age 0-18.

Families do not have to meet any qualifications to receive meals, but the district asks that anyone who wants to pick-up a bulk supply of meals on Wednesday register online by Tuesday afternoon.


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