ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Orange County Public Schools is currently serving meals for any child 18 and under at 66 locations in the county.
“Believe it or not, I mean we live in a great community but there’s a lot of families that just this little bit goes a long way,” Jennifer Buko said after she picked up a box of meals for her family.
Buko doesn’t just think about her own family.
“It helps not only my family but we also share with other families that aren’t able to get here. So, like we know some single moms in the area that can’t come here cause they work full time and so whatever I get I can share with them,” Buko said.
For Tammy Brache, the meals come at a time when her family continues to struggle due to the pandemic.
“After COVID, our work got decreased because we’re independent workers and this is amazing for the family. We are sure that our kids are having a healthy meal and we don’t have to deal with that pressure,” Brache said.
OCPS is making sure no child is left behind this summer when it comes to their daily meals.
“We receive the federal benefits list and we know that those children who are directly certified for federal benefits that skyrocketed up to 75% this year,” Lora Gilbert, senior director for the Food and Nutrition program at OCPS said. “We know that the families’ budgets are squeezed.”
The summer meal distribution program is a USDA federally funded program. According to a March report by Feeding America, food insecurity has remained elevated compared to pre-pandemic levels for 96% of Florida counties. In Central Florida, one in seven people and one in five children in households may be food insecure in 2021.
Every Monday from 3 to 6 p.m., OCPS will be doing curbside meal distributions at 66 locations. Each box contains seven breakfast and lunch meals.
“We’ve got a croissant and Turkey, cheese sandwich and then we’ve got a deli Turkey, cheese sandwich. One of the things that they really like is the lasagna rollup and if they heat that up it’s got the ricotta cheese and the pasta,” Gilbert said.
School officials said children do not have to be registered in the public school system in order to pick up a box.
Last year, OCPS said they delivered more than 2 million meals between June and July.
For information on curbside pick-up locations in Orange County, click here.