Public school cafeteria workers distributed 1,089 breakfasts and 2,603 lunches to children Monday, the first day of the free Grab-and-Go meal service for students on Oahu, Maui, Hawaii island and Kauai.
The meals were offered at 23 schools and will be extended to more schools Tuesday and Wednesday, reaching 39 campuses statewide during spring break, which has been extended through April 6 to stem the spread of COVID-19.
“The schools represent more than schools,” said Randall Tanaka, assistant superintendent for the Office of Facilities and Operations. “We’re to some degree a social safety net for those that can’t afford food or need this support. We see this as part of our responsibility to the community.”
The meals are available free for children up through age 18 on weekdays, regardless of eligibility for subsidized lunch, except on Prince Kuhio Day, this Thursday.
The food is packed in containers and available for pick up outside cafeterias from 7:30 a.m.-8 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.-noon. Parents or caregivers must bring their child when picking up the meals, under federal requirements.
Employees followed social distancing requirements while running the takeout meal program.
“We want to say thank you to all the employees who were willing to come in,” Albert Scales, administrator of the School Food Services Branch said. “They’re doing a great community service… Without them there’s going to be people who may not have any meals at all.
“I believe the DOE along with our community partners are coming together from the grassroots up all the way to the state level to take care of our own,” he added. “We have no idea what the future holds but we’re all coming together as partners to really make this work.”
As of Tuesday, Oahu schools providing meals are: Dole Middle School, Farrington High, Kahaluu Elementary, Kahuku High & Intermediate, Kailua Elementary, Kaimuki High, King Intermediate, Leilehua High, Makalapa Elementary, McKinley High, Waialua High & Intermediate and Waimanalo Elementary & Intermediate.
On Wednesday, the Leeward Oahu district will also begin distribution at August Ahrens Elementary, Campbell High, Kapolei High, Maili Elementary, Nanaikapono Elementary, Nanakuli High & Intermediate, Waianae Intermediate, Waianae High and Waipahu Elementary.
To see which Neighbor Island schools are participating and any updates from the Department of Education, go online here.