Although schools are closed, the Guam Department of Education has committed to making sure that as many children are being fed at this time of need through today’s launch of their Grab and Go School Lunch Program.
With face masks and gloves on, volunteers stationed at 11 island schools distributed around 8,000 free hot lunches to families with children up to 18 years old. On today’s menu? Pizza, tossed salad, fruit, and milk.
This was all a part of the Guam Department of Education’s “Grab N’ Go” school meal program, which launched today to feed students – no matter if they’re from public, private, charter, or DODEA schools – while campuses are closed due to concerns about COVID-19.
GDOE Deputy Superintendent Dr. Kelly Sukola says that the number of pickups made today will gauge how many meals the department would have to supply to meet the demand.
“We have taken a meal count from the average daily meal count from all the schools in the particular area and that’s how we got to the numbers that we have today. We are going to count the participation in our meal program. We’re going to take it day by day and assess what we need to increase,” Sukola said.
If the school closures are extended, Dr. Sukola says that the department anticipates possibly including breakfast as a meal option and establishing a delivery system at village bus stops.
At this time, parents and guardians can drive or walk up to the distribution facilities to receive meals.
Vangie Iglesias, the principal of Wettengel Elementary School, one of the most populated northern schools on Guam, anticipates serving many people this week. She says residents lined up at the campus gate as early as 10:20 a.m. to meet the 11 a.m. launch time.
“We’re not turning away any child that is hungry from 18 and below. Their parents can come by and say, I need ten meals for my children who are attending Wettengel, JFK, Simon Sanchez – wherever they’re coming from. Private, public, charter school – you’re welcome to get meals from any school that has been identified to give those out,” Iglesias said.
The meal program is ongoing every weekday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 11 schools.
For more information about the distribution sites, please visit pncguam.com.