Free school meals available for pickup in Farmington during winter break

Farmington Municipal Schools are offering free packs of seven meals during the winter break on December 21st and 28th for families who need help with feeding children at home.

“We know there is a need,” said Renee Lucero, school district spokeswoman.

The weeklong meal packages are available at Central Kitchen at 305 N. Court Ave., Bluffview Elementary, Tibbetts Middle School, and Piedra Vista High School.

After the winter break, the regular pick-up and delivery service for meals will reopen on January 4th.

The free meals have been available to all children between the ages of 1 and 18 since the summer break and are funded by the US Department of Agriculture.

Children don’t have to be enrolled in the school district to receive a free meal, but Lucero said fewer families are using the program than in previous years. About 3,000 to 3,500 students pick up free meals daily, out of a total of about 11,000 students in the district. Compared to last school year, this represents a 50% decrease in the number of students receiving free meals.

“We would always like to see a larger number,” said Lucero.

With fewer students attending school in person, access to free meals is not as easy as visiting the cafeteria. Elementary schools are 50% busy with half of their students online. Middle and high school students have also moved on to online learning, Lucero said.

The school district is working to make meals readily available for students at home by increasing the number of delivery locations and providing the weeklong meal packages for the winter break.

Meals are free for all students, regardless of whether students qualified for free lunches or just reduced lunches during normal school years, Lucero said.

If daily pick-up is inconvenient for students or parents, food packages are available for five days on Mondays in the central kitchen from 3 p.m. to 4.30 p.m. Meal packages for the weekend are also available on Fridays.

Students do not need to be present for parents to collect meals, and the pick-up locations have roadside service.

“Our grocery workers will be out in the cold, in the rain and in the snow, putting food packages right in the car,” Lucero said.

Each pack includes breakfast, lunch and a snack.

Farmington Schools will move to online learning for all students between November 30th and January 19th. As a result, the school district has expanded the number of delivery locations to make meals easier for students in remote areas.

Meals are delivered along the regular primary school bus stops, including routes along:

Bloomfield Highway.South Butler Area, Apache Street in West Farmington.La Plata highway.Harper Hill area.Bisti area.Mall, Aztec Highway.Crouch Mesa, Star Heights.Wildflower area.Specific locations are listed on the Farmington School District website.

Meals are delivered to the locations every day at 8 a.m.

If there is snow in the morning, meals are given at 10 a.m. so that the streets can be cleared. But if the road conditions are still dangerous at 10 a.m., no food packages will be delivered that day, Lucero said.

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