Broward County Public Schools (BCPS), the nation’s sixth-largest school district and the second largest in the state of Florida, has made the decision to offer classes 100% online at least until October. That means the nutrition team is continuing a curbside pickup program that began when the pandemic hit.
During a state of the district address, Broward Superintendent Robert Runcie said the main issues facing the district now are food insecurity and the “digital divide,” meaning limited access to technology for many students.
“Sixty-five percent of the children attending Broward County Public Schools qualify for free or reduced meals,” Runcie said. “For many children, our public schools are the only reliable place for them to receive two nutritious meals—breakfast and lunch—each day.”
Runcie lauded the foodservice team for serving over two and a half million meals to students and families since mid-March and added that digital inequities are being addressed with more than 100,000 laptop computers available for any student who needs one. Book packs will also be distributed, a total of 240,000 books, according to Runcie.
Grab-and-go meals for breakfast and lunch begin the first day of school, Aug. 19, and then every Tuesday and Thursday at 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and an added pickup time from 3-5 p.m. Students or parents can pick up multiple meals at a time, and the students’ names are recorded when picking up. Those not eligible for free or reduced meals are encouraged to pay online before heading to the distribution sites to help speed up the car lines. All students in the district are eligible for free breakfast.
“The best on-the-go items are foods that kids love to eat and are also packed with nutrients they need to reach their highest potential,” says Zoe Crego, MS, RD, LD/N, program manager at Broward’s nutrition services.
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