Local organizations aid with Grab and Go meals

  • The Fishes and Loaves Food Pantry altered its distribution logistics to accommodate drive-thru traffic and passed out 95 food packets on Tuesday.
    The Fishes and Loaves Food Pantry altered its distribution logistics to accommodate drive-thru traffic and passed out 95 food packets on Tuesday.

While Jackson County Schools will remain closed at least through the end of March, the school district is taking steps to make sure no one misses a meal during the interim. The faculty and staff at Blue Ridge School and Early College has implemented a district wide meal service program for students in need to ensure they stay fed during the shutdown. 
According to a release from the school district, Jackson County Public Schools will provide breakfast and lunch for anyone age 1-18 on Tuesday and Wednesday, March 17 and 18. Meals will be distributed from 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Blue Ridge School, Cullowhee Valley School, Scotts Creek School, Smokey Mountain Elementary School, and Smoky Mountain High School.  
Students who would like a meal should go to the nearest distribution site.  Each person under age 18 will be given a boxed lunch for the current day and breakfast for the following day.
Home delivery will only be available Tuesday and Wednesday for students who cannot get to a distribution site. 
 Individuals who do not have transportation should complete the online form at www.jcpsnc.org/food no later than 10 a.m. on the day they want food delivery to start.
Superintendent Kim Elliott said she is pleased with the way the school district is pitching in to help during these unique times. 
“I am very pleased with our district plan for food distribution to our students,” Elliott said via email on Tuesday. “Our district staff has been phenomenal with planning, logistics, and the organization of volunteers. We are hopeful that the ‘food help’ call number will be used by people who need food assistance and also by those who want to help with preparation and delivery.”
School Nutrition Director Laura Cabe expects delivery for everyone to begin on Thursday, March 19.  
“We’re still working on the logistics right now,” said Cabe.
Other civic organizations are pitching in to lend a helping hand during the crisis. The Boys and Girls Club of the Plateau is partnering with local restaurants such as Slabtown Pizza to provide “Grab and Go” meals for its more than 200 members and the community at large. Operations Manager Vivian Weatherby said there are 84 percent of the Boys and Girls Club members who qualify for free and reduced lunch with Jackson County Public Schools and with schools being closed for the immediate future, do not have food to eat. Weatherby and Slabtown Pizza handed out more than 100 free pizzas on Monday night to its members. 
“We want to reach as many families as we can,” Weatherby said. “We’re excited about being able to serve the community.”
Future Grab and Go meal events are slated for the coming weeks, with the Boys and Girls Club partnering with Whiteside Brewing Company and The Library to distribute free meals to those in need. 
Local food pantry Fishes and Loaves has altered its distribution network into a drive-thru distribution set up to accommodate COVID-19 concerns. 
“People can walk up and pick up food or we can deliver it to their vehicle so they don’t have to get out of their car,” said Fishes and Loaves Executive Director Larry Morris. “We want to make sure people don’t go hungry during these unique times.”