The lingering effect of the coronavirus pandemic is still evident in schools across Stark County.
While classes are over, most school districts in the Stark County area are still handing out free meals to any child 18 and under. And food service managers say the need for food aid remains.
At Minerva Elementary, school workers have distributed an average of 2,500 breakfasts and lunches per week (serving approximately 250 children per week) since the summer program began on June 2. The district distributes five breakfasts and five lunches per child on Wednesdays at Minerva Elementary. It will soon be increasing its distribution to also feed students participating in the district’s summer programs.
Stacey Bettis, director of food services for Minerva, Brown Local and Tuscarawas Valley school districts, said demand was only slightly down from a year ago, when Minerva distributed an average of 4,000 meals per week.
“This year we have reduced some of them but the need is still there for families,” said Bettis.
Minerva is one of 14 school districts in the Stark County area continuing the free lunch program they started in March 2020 when the state closed school buildings as part of its efforts to shut down the spread of the coronavirus. A waiver through the US Department of Agriculture allows schools to feed any child, regardless of family income and whether or not the child is a student in the district. Most of the nearly 40 school sites do not require registration.
Beyond school venues, the Ohio Department of Education also sponsors its annual summer food service program, which provides free meals to children ages 1-18 and children with disabilities and programs for children with disabilities. Individual education approved up to 21 years.
A map of this year’s summer food sites shows about a dozen locations beyond the 36 sites sponsored by the public school district. Several community organizations and churches also provide free meals to the community.
Here’s where you can find a meal for your child:
Stark County school districts offering free meals
Until August 13, breakfast and lunch bags can be picked up at seven locations. The sites will be closed on July 5.
Pickup times and days are:
- 11:30 a.m. to 11:50 a.m. Monday to Friday at Maple Beach Park
- 11:30 a.m. to 12:20 p.m. Monday to Friday at Alliance Northside Intermediate
- Noon to 12:30 p.m. Monday to Friday at Alliance High School
- Noon to 12:20 p.m. Monday to Friday at Memorial Park
- Noon to 12:30 p.m. Monday to Thursday at the Alliance Early Learning Center
- Noon to 12:30 p.m. Monday to Thursday at Alliance Elementary in Rockhill
- Noon to 12:30 p.m. Monday to Thursday at Alliance Middle School
Until July 30, children can receive five breakfasts, five lunches, milk and juice from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. on Fridays at the District Food Service Pavilion at 3242 Coral Road NW, Gate C3. Register on https://forms.gle/9fT81GvSAdbHtwZv8.
Until July 28, produce and groceries can be picked up from 11:30 a.m. to noon on Wednesdays at Canton South High School.
Until August 5, breakfast is served from 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. and lunch is available from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday in the cafeteria at Carrollton High School / Middle School. No meals will be served from July 19 to 23 due to the County Fair. The district also distributes seven-day meal packages from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Thursday. Drivers picking up meals are kindly requested to stay in their car and the child does not have to be present.
Marlington Middle School serves breakfast from 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. and lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Until August 6, the district offers meals from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Monday through Friday at Washington High School, and its food truck offers five days of breakfast and lunch on the following days:
- Mondays: 10:45 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at Walnut Hills Park; and 11:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Third Street SE and Woodland Ave. SE.
- Tuesdays: 10:45 am to 11:30 am at the corner of Underhill Drive and McDonald Circle SE; and 11:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Salvation Army.
- Wednesday: 10:45 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. in the hospital parking lot; and from 11:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Discount Outlet.
- Thursday: 10:45 am to 11:30 am at the Boys & Girls Club in Massillon; and 11:45 am to 12:30 pm at the corner of Tremont Avenue SW and Eighth Street SW.
- Fridays: 10:45 am to 11:30 am at the Mayflower Shopping Center in the Buehler parking lot; and 11:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Rolling Hills Park.
Until July 28, five breakfasts and five lunches, as well as fruits, vegetables and a half-gallon of white and chocolate milk, are offered from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. on Wednesdays at Minerva Elementary School. Families are asked to stay in their car during pickup.
Breakfast and lunch are available from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday at North Canton Middle School. Meals on July 5 will be available for pickup on July 2.
Until August 11, products and groceries can be picked up from 11:30 a.m. to noon on July 14, July 21, July 28, August 4 and August 11 at the school.
Until August 6, breakfast and lunch are served from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Monday through Friday at Perry High.
Until August 9, families can have five breakfasts and five lunches from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. on Mondays at Glenwood Intermediate. July 5th meals will be available for pickup on July 6th.
Until August 12, five breakfasts and five lunches can be picked up at one of the eight locations on the following days:
- Monday: 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. at Goodland-Elmfort in Waynesburg; 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Sandyville Post Office.
- Tuesdays: 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the Waynesburg post office; 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Sandy Valley Community Pool.
- Wednesday: 10 am to 11 am at St. James; 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Sparta Est post office.
- Thursday: 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the Magnolia post office; 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Sandy Valley Estates.
Until August 6, hot meals are available from 11 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Monday through Thursday at McKinley High. Families living within the city limits of Sebring can also call 330-938-4710 to arrange home delivery on Thursdays. No daily meals will be offered from July 5 to 9.
Other free school meal programs
Until July 28, St. Mary’s Catholic School will be offering five breakfasts and dinners from noon to 1:30 p.m. on Wednesdays at the school.
Programs not sponsored by the school district
Churches in the Louisville area provide children with groceries for lunch from 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. July 8 and 22 at Kountze Lutheran Church, 930 S. Nickel Plate Ave., and white bus shelters on route 44 and the chapel. Rue de la Crête.
The Louisville Community Cupboard continues to provide food assistance from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the first and third Thursday of each month at Kountze Lutheran Church. Proof of residence in Louisville is required.
Until August 7, the Massillon Family YMCA is offering breakfast from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. and lunch from noon to 12:30 p.m. Monday to Friday.
Until August 17, the Towpath Trail YMCA of Navarre is offering meals to those who order before 9 a.m. daily by calling 330-879-0800.
The Stark County Hunger Task Force distributes food backpacks every week in Canton and Alliance to children aged 3 to 17. Parents or guardians must present photo ID to receive bags for their household. If it is to collect meals for the children of someone else’s household, a power of attorney form must be completed. The bags contain two breakfasts, two lunches, two snacks and two drinks.
In Canton, distribution is 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Thursdays through August 19 at the Ken Weber Community Campus in Goodwill, 48 Ninth St. SW.
At Alliance, food is distributed from 10 a.m. to noon on Tuesdays through August 17 at The Vine at 1544 W. Vine St.
The Children’s Hunger Alliance is sponsoring 11 meal sites this summer open to all children 18 and under. The sites include:
- DeHoff branch library at 26 Hartford Ave SE, 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday to Friday.
- Ellisdale Homes at 3809 31st St. NE, 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. Friday.
- EN-RICH-MENT at 1014 Cleveland Ave. NW, 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Monday to Friday.
- Jackson-Sherrick at 1315 Gonder Ave. SE, 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Tuesdays.
- Linwood Acres at 3331 14th St. SW, 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. Tuesdays.
- Madge Youtz Branch Library at 2921 Mahoning Road NE, 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday.
- Mahoning Manor at 1800 Regent Ave. NE, 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Friday.
- Massillon Public Library at 208 Lincoln Way E, 2:30 p.m. to 6:45 p.m. Monday to Saturday.
- Schreiber School at 1503 Woodland Ave. NW, 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. Monday.
- Skyline Terrace at 635 Alan Page Dr. SE, 12:30 pm to 1:30 pm Wednesdays.
- Stark County District Library at 715 Market Ave. N, 11 a.m. to noon on Monday. see you on Friday.
Contact Kelli at 330-580-8339 or [email protected].
On Twitter: @kweirREP