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Central Florida schools begin distributing meals to students as class move online amid coronavirus

Students up to 18 can qualify for free meals, snacks

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – With students out of school due to the coronavirus pandemic, school districts across Central Florida are beginning to offer free and healthy meals for their students.

In Orange County, the Grab-and-Go Program provides students two free meals and a snack.

For students like 8th grader Joy Molina it means so much.

“It’s important because you don’t know what people are going through, and somebody might not be able to have food,” Molina said.

In Orange County, students can show up at one of 50 designated schools to pick up their healthy breakfast and lunch meals. It’s from Monday-Friday from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. until further notice. Superintendent Barbara Jenkins said no child will be turned away.

[RELATED: Florida schools offer free meals to students during extended coronavirus closures]

“We are not making this solely for students who qualify for free and reduced lunch. It is any of our children who is 18 and under,” Jenkins said.

There are similar grab-and-go programs happening all over Central Florida.

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Melina said the meals means so much to her.

“It’s nice to see the school doing something, despite everything going on,” she said.

She said she understands how it’s a big deal and that many of her friends also rely on these meals.

“For me to have this, if I was going through a harder time, personally, this could be a lot more important to me, but if I see someone going through a harder time with everything going on, I feel like I could be a person to help them out,” Molina said.

Many parents say they can’t be more grateful. Stacy Rivera has five children.

“It helps. Especially when you’re going to the supermarket and you’re short on resources,” said Rivera.

This is all happening as students all over Central Florida are prepping for online learning for at least the new few weeks.

“I’m not worried about doing it online, but I just think that it may not be as easy for some students to understand it that way,” Said Molina.

If you want to find out more about how your child can get a healthy meal throughout during this school closure, click here.


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