Free weekly meal distributions will continue after school starts online this month and will expand to more school locations. The program, however, will have some changes, including requiring proof that the recipients are Dearborn Public School students.
Sept. 3, will be the first day for the new school-year program. Parents or other adults still will be able to pick up a week’s worth of lunch and breakfast items for students. The adult, though, will need to provide the name, school, and student identification or student number for each student receiving a meal pack.
Parents should pre-order meal pickup through the Nutrislice website (https://dearbornschools.nutrislice.com/menus-eula) or app. This will allow them to enter the student information once for the year. The software will remember the information the next time the adult goes to pre-order. If they don’t pre-order online, the adult will have to provide the information at pickup.
The meals will continue to be free to Dearborn Public School students. After the first week, weekly meal packs will be distributed on Fridays, starting with Sept. 11.
With the restart of school online, the district also is doubling the number of locations where student meals will be distributed. Meals will be available for pickup from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. each week at Dearborn, Edsel Ford and Fordson high schools; Lowrey, McCollough-Unis and Salina Intermediate schools; Bryant, Smith, Stout and Woolworth middle schools; Henry Ford, McDonald, Maples and Miller elementariness; and the Dearborn Heights Campus.
At most locations, adults will be able to stay in their vehicles and pull up to have food loaded into their car. Families that pre-order will be able to use a special designated line. Student meals can be collected from any building, even if the child attends a different school.
DPS began offering free food distribution in March just days after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer ordered schools to close to slow the spread of COVID-19. Food distribution was initially funded under emergency provisions of the School Lunch Program.
Food distribution continued over the summer through a separate federal summer nutrition program, which ended in Dearborn with the distribution on Aug. 27.
Neither of those programs required the district to collect student information.
With the restart of school, though, DPS is required to link each meal to a district student in order to be reimbursed through the National School Lunch Program. Each meal pack will contain a breakfast and a lunch for each day of school that week. Most packs will have 10 meals (five each of breakfast and lunch), but some weeks may be smaller due to days off school.
The district has been distributing more than 60,000 meals a week and has handed out more than 1.25 million meals since the shutdown in March.
“We are glad Dearborn Public Schools is able to continue to distribute free nutritional meals to our students,” said Jeff Murphy, director of food services. “We know this service is important to many of the families who participate.”