IMMOKALEE - When the COVID-19 health pandemic hit our country last year, families were suddenly faced with increased hardship such as unemployment, hospital bills, and eviction. The result left many children without food and many families looking for assistance.
As schools closed last spring, our Collier County Public Schools (CCPS) Nutrition Services team rolled up its sleeves, finding creative ways to reach students and fill this very important need. Free meals were distributed curbside and delivered to areas where families lacked transportation.
As the new school year began, it was decided that all students would continue to receive free meals, both on campus and through drive-up service at select school sites. But as we near the last day of school (June 11), many families may be wondering when they’ll see their next meal.
According to Feeding America, “Studies show that children from homes that lack consistent access to food are more likely to experience developmental impairments in areas like language, motor skills, and behavior.” Understanding the important role food security plays in a child’s success, our CCPS Nutrition Services department will once again be offering curbside meal service for children during the summer months.
Immokalee Middle School will begin serving meals on Tuesday, June 15, 2021, while Eden Park Elementary School and Pinecrest Elementary School will begin service on Tuesday, June 22, 2021. Curbside lines will be open from 8:30 am to 9:30 am on Tuesdays and Fridays. All children 18 years and under qualify for this free meal service, which will continue through Tuesday, July 20, 2021.
“We are concerned about the health of our students and encourage healthy foods and adequate exercise to reach maximum physical and academic performance,” explains Elizabeth Alfaro, CCPS Nutrition Services Director. “Eating enough fruits and vegetables every day is key to healthy growth and development, so we are extremely excited to be able to offer these meals to our families once again.”
For more information on the Summer Feeding Program, please visit www.collierschools.com/nutrition.