In collaboration with local non-profit organizations and restaurants, Alachua County Public Schools is seeking donations of both food and funds to help keep children fed during Spring Break and beyond during the COVID-19 crisis.
This week the district’s Food and Nutrition Services Department has been able to prepare and distribute meals to children aged 0-18 at 34 sites throughout the county. However, the district was informed by the federal government on Monday that it would not be able to provide food for children during its regular Spring Break, which runs from March 23-27, because school was already scheduled to be out during that time.
As a result, the district is now working with various community groups and representatives from local restaurants and other businesses to fill that gap.
Campus USA Credit Union has stepped forward and generously volunteered to cover the cost of the majority of the student meals for the week of spring break. Gator’s Dockside, MiApa Latin Café and Gator BTW have also stepped forward to donate the remainder of the meals as well as providing delivery for the free grab and go lunches each day of Spring Break for the children of Alachua County.
The restaurant lunches will be distributed at sites throughout the county. Those sites are still be determined based on numbers of meals given out this week and the distribution efforts of other local groups.
The district is also working with local agencies to collect both food and money that can be provided to families during Spring Break and beyond.
“Even when the district begins the breakfast and lunch program again after Spring Break, we know our families will have additional needs,” said Jackie Johnson, the district’s Director of Communications. “Whatever we and our partners collect through this effort can be put to very good use after Spring Break, especially as the COVID-19 situation drags on.”
Residents are asked to donate non-perishable food items at the following locations:
Junior League: 430 North Main Street; Monday, Wednesday and Friday from March 23-April 3, 11-1 and 4-6
Catholic Charities: 1701 NE 9th Street; Monday-Friday, 8:30- 4
SWAG Community Center: 807 SW 64th Terrace, Monday-Thursday 9-4, Friday 9-1
United Way of North Central Florida: 6031 NW 1st Place; Monday-Friday, 9-4
Donations can also be dropped off at Food4Kids locations throughout the county. As list of those locations can be found on the organization’s website at Food4Kidsfl.org.
A special fund has been set up to collect monetary donations for meals for children through The Education Foundation at https://bit.ly/38WQlBX. Donors can click on the Donate button and select the “Emergency Food/FoodBaskets” category to make a donation.
Additional details about distribution of food collected through this effort will be posted on the district’s website and social media pages as soon as they are available.