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Come and get it: Carroll County schools start free summer curbside meal distribution, all students eligible

Schools Out Summer 2021 curbside meal distribution started Wednesday morning, providing students enrolled in Carroll County Public Schools with free meal kits.

A total of 1,289 kits — including 9,023 breakfasts and 9,023 lunches — were distributed countywide.

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The contents of a bag containing a week worth of meals for one child is pictured at Winters Mill High School in Westminster Wednesday. The meals will be available this summer each Wednesday from June 16 through September 1 from 7:30 - 8:30 a.m. and 12:30 - 1:30 p.m.
The contents of a bag containing a week worth of meals for one child is pictured at Winters Mill High School in Westminster Wednesday. The meals will be available this summer each Wednesday from June 16 through September 1 from 7:30 - 8:30 a.m. and 12:30 - 1:30 p.m. (Dylan Slagle)

The meal kits, which include a week’s worth of breakfasts and lunches, are available for pickup each Wednesday until Sept. 1, from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. and 12:30 to 1:30 p.m.

For the summer, the curbside pickup sites transition to nine locations spread throughout the county: Elmer Wolfe Elementary, Mt. Airy Middle School, Northwest Middle School, Shiloh Middle School, West Middle School, Oklahoma Road Middle School, Century High School, Manchester Valley High School and Winters Mill High School.

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From left, Carroll County Public Schools food service workers Cris Bailey, Winters Mill cafeteria manager Melissa Herbert and Vilma Masters set up outside Winters Mill High School in Westminster Wednesday to distribute free meals to people with children 18 and under. The meals will be available this summer each Wednesday from June 16 through September 1 from 7:30 - 8:30 a.m. and 12:30 - 1:30 p.m. at Elmer Wolfe Elementary, Mount Airy Middle School, Northwest Middle School, Shiloh Middle School, West Middle School, Oklahoma Road Middle School, Century High School, Manchester Valley High School and Winters Mill High School.
From left, Carroll County Public Schools food service workers Cris Bailey, Winters Mill cafeteria manager Melissa Herbert and Vilma Masters set up outside Winters Mill High School in Westminster Wednesday to distribute free meals to people with children 18 and under. The meals will be available this summer each Wednesday from June 16 through September 1 from 7:30 - 8:30 a.m. and 12:30 - 1:30 p.m. at Elmer Wolfe Elementary, Mount Airy Middle School, Northwest Middle School, Shiloh Middle School, West Middle School, Oklahoma Road Middle School, Century High School, Manchester Valley High School and Winters Mill High School. (Dylan Slagle)

During the past school year, the Summer Food Service Program offered curbside meal kits at almost every school in the county on Wednesdays. The program operates during times of emergency, including national disasters and pandemics.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the child nutrition programs that operate the Summer Food Service Program waved some requirements to expand the service last summer. Prior to the pandemic, the children had to be present to pick up the meal kids.

Now, all families need to do is provide the name of the children enrolled in CCPS, said Supervisor of Food Services Karen Sarno.

Fruit and vegetables are offered as well at Winters Mill High School in Westminster Wednesday. The meals will be available this summer each Wednesday from June 16 through September 1 from 7:30 - 8:30 a.m. and 12:30 - 1:30 p.m.
Fruit and vegetables are offered as well at Winters Mill High School in Westminster Wednesday. The meals will be available this summer each Wednesday from June 16 through September 1 from 7:30 - 8:30 a.m. and 12:30 - 1:30 p.m. (Dylan Slagle)

The meal kits are enough to feed a child for seven breakfasts and seven lunches, providing a gallon of milk, fresh produce, pancake or waffles and sliders or pizza. A full digital menu with heating instructions, nutritional information and allergens is available at the CCPS website.

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The pandemic triggered a bout of unusual income instability, Sarno said. The meal distribution is supposed to provide some relief to families and ease any economic issues a household may be facing.

“We want to make sure that’s not hitting in the form of lack of food for children,” Sarno said.

As of Oct. 31 of last year, 21.8% of all children in CCPS were enrolled in free and reduced-price meal program. It’s an increase from the 2019 enrollment, in which 15.27% had access to a meal.

Carroll County Public Schools food service worker Cris Bailey brings out more meals at Winters Mill High School in Westminster Wednesday where free meals are being distributed to families with children 18 and under. The meals will be available this summer each Wednesday from June 16 through September 1 from 7:30 - 8:30 a.m. and 12:30 - 1:30 p.m.
Carroll County Public Schools food service worker Cris Bailey brings out more meals at Winters Mill High School in Westminster Wednesday where free meals are being distributed to families with children 18 and under. The meals will be available this summer each Wednesday from June 16 through September 1 from 7:30 - 8:30 a.m. and 12:30 - 1:30 p.m. (Dylan Slagle)
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