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Kokua Line: DOE’s Grab-and-Go meals are for private-school kids, too

  • BRUCE ASATO / MARCH 23, 2020
                                All children ages 18 and younger can receive one breakfast and one lunch daily as part of the Hawaii Department of Education’s Grab-and-Go school meals program. They do not have to be enrolled at the school site. Pictured are examples of the meals being served.

    BRUCE ASATO / MARCH 23, 2020

    All children ages 18 and younger can receive one breakfast and one lunch daily as part of the Hawaii Department of Education’s Grab-and-Go school meals program. They do not have to be enrolled at the school site. Pictured are examples of the meals being served.

Question: The public school in my neighborhood is giving out lunches. My children don’t go to that school. My husband has just been laid off. Can my children pick up lunch?

Q: Regarding the DOE’s Grab-and-Go program, is that available to any student at any school? Or do you have to be a student at the particular school where the food is being distributed?

Answer: “All children ages 18 and younger can receive one breakfast and one lunch daily as part of the Hawaii Department of Education’s Grab-and-Go school meals program. They do not have to be enrolled at the school site and do not have to be public school students. Meals are being provided to children regardless of if they attend public, charter, private or home-based schools. The goal of the program is to ensure that all children receive nutritious meals during the current health crisis,” said Derek Inoshita, a DOE spokesman.

So, in answer to these readers and others, yes, your children are eligible, at any location, as long as they are 18 or younger.

Inoshita said meals for children are provided Mondays through Fridays, excluding holidays. Parents or caregivers who pick up a meal must be accompanied by the child(ren), per federal requirements, he said.

As the name of the program indicates, the food is prepackaged for pickup, which restricts personal interaction. “Everyone on or near school campuses is asked to follow proper social distancing measures and health guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” he said.

The DOE lists Grab-and-Go school locations, hours and more information on its website at bit.ly/HIDOE GrabandGo.

According to the most recent update, breakfast is served from 7:30 to 8 a.m. and lunch from 11:30 a.m. to noon. Nearly 50 sites on Oahu, Maui, Lanai, Molokai, Kauai and Hawaii island were operating as of Thursday, with eight more scheduled to join the lineup next week.

Q: I know the state income tax deadline has been extended, but what if we want to file now because we are expecting a refund? Can we?

A: Yes. State income tax returns are being processed as usual; the filing and payment extension to July 20 is optional. “Individuals expecting refunds should file as soon as possible. Any returns or payments can be dropped off in the drop box outside the building. Form N-11 (Hawaii Resident Income Tax Return) can be filed for free on Hawaii Tax Online,” according to the state Department of Taxation.

State tax offices are closed to in-person visits, but you can get information online at tax.hawaii.gov or by phone at 587-4242, the main call center in Honolulu. Expect a long wait if you call.

Q: They are saying something like 400 people in Hawaii are going to die of coronavirus. How can they possibly know that? What’s that based on?

A: The projection that 372 people in Hawaii would die of COVID-19 by July is based on computer models developed by the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. To be clear, IHME’s projections assume full social distancing; the death toll would be higher otherwise.

IHME’s model, which you can see at www.healthdata.org/covid, includes projections for each state and for the United States overall.

It developed the forecasts to help hospitals and health systems prepare for a surge in COVID-19 patients, when the demand for ICU beds, ventilators and other essential medical resources is expected to outstrip the supply. As of Thursday IHME projected that Hawaii’s “peak resource use” would occur May 3 and that 12 people would die that day.


Write to Kokua Line at Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., Honolulu 96813; call 529-4773; fax 529-4750; or email kokualine@staradvertiser.com.


Click here to see our full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak. Submit your coronavirus news tip.

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