Dearborn Public Schools is continuing to offer a weekly distribution of free student meals during online learning.
The district distributes meals every Friday from 10:30 to 1 p.m. at 15 locations. Each bag contains breakfast and lunch for the week for one child. Any adult or older student can come and pick up the meals for any child 18 or younger in the household or any older special education student still attending Dearborn Public Schools. Students do not need to attend the building distributing the food.
With the restart of school online, the district doubled the number of locations where student meals are distributed. Meals will be available for pickup at Bryant Middle School, Dearborn High School, Edsel Ford High School, Fordson High School, Henry Ford Elementary, the Dearborn Heights Campus (Howe/STEM/Berry Center), Lowrey School, Maples Elementary, McCollough-Unis, McDonald Elementary, Miller Elementary, Salina Intermediate, Smith Middle School, Stout Middle School and Woodworth Middle School.
At most locations, adults will be able to stay in their vehicles and pull up to have food loaded in their car.
Initially, the district was preparing to gather student names and student ID numbers for each meal pack distributed during the new school year. However, a last minute change from the U.S. Department of Agriculture allowed us to postpone collecting student information. Currently, we expect to be required to start collecting student information for each meal by the end of December, if not sooner. When that change happens, parents will be encouraged to pre-order their meal packs through the Nutrislice system. Then student information can be entered once into the app instead of provided to staff at each meal pickup.
The meal distribution program will also change when the district moves back towards in-person learning.
Dearborn Public Schools began offering free food distribution in March just days after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer ordered schools to close to slow the spread of COVID-19. Food distribution was initially funded under emergency provisions of the School Lunch Program. Food distribution continued over the summer through a separate federal summer nutrition program, which ended in Dearborn with the distribution on Aug. 27. Neither of those programs required the district to collect student information. With the restart of school, though, Dearborn Public Schools switched back to the School Lunch Program, which normally requires each meal to be linked to a certain student.
The district has been distributing more than 60,000 meals a week and has handed out more than 1.25 million meals since the shut down in March.“We know many of our families rely on these free school meals, and we are glad to be able continue to serve our students in this way,” said Superintendent Glenn Maleyko.