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Out-of-school free meals effort expands to 2,000-plus kids daily
Now likely to extend with school closure through April 24
Julia P. Bryant Elementary School principal Pam Goodman, far, left, and her staff prepare to distribute breakfast and lunch bags on Tuesday, March 17 as one of over 30 Bulloch County Schools remote feeding sites to provide meals to to children 18-under while schools are closed in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Meal pick-up times, locations

➤ 10–10:15 a.m.

▲ Plantation Mobile Home Park, Highway 80 West, Brooklet 

▲ Grady Johnson Mobile Home Park, 13 Grady Johnson Road

▲ Foxridge Apartments, 66 Packinghouse Roard E, Statesboro

➤ 10–10:30 a.m.

▲ Morris Heights, 24 Morris Street

▲ Country Lakes Mobile Home Park, US Highway 301, Statesboro 

▲ Hill's Mortuary, 58 Packinghouse Road, Statesboro

▲ Whitesville Community Recreation Park, Tamo Lane, Statesboro

➤ 10–10:45 a.m.

▲ Cowboy Way Mobile Home Park, Cowboy Way, Portal

➤ 10:15–10:30 a.m.

▲ Bird Lane Mobile Home Park, Bird Road, Statesboro

▲ W.W. Mann Center    2171 Prather Road, Brooklet area 

➤ 10:20–10:35 a.m.

▲ Cody Lane Mobile Home Park, Cody Lane, Brooklet 

▲ Greenhaven Mobile Home Park, 2095 Old Register Road

▲ Madison Meadows, 10 Packinghouse Rd., Statesboro

➤ 10:35–10:50 a.m.

▲ Butler Homes, 300 Johnson Street, Statesboro 

▲ Eastview Apartments, 500 East View Apts. Road, Statesboro

▲ Cedarwood Acres, 13 Cedarwood Acres

➤ 10:45–11 a.m.

▲ New Hope Missionary Baptist Church, 6790 Kennedy Bridge Road, Register

➤ 10:45–11:15 a.m.

▲ Kyle Sorrell and Eagle Village, 6408 Swallowtail Drive, Statesboro

➤ 10:50–11:05 a.m.

▲ Wildwood Villas, 50 Wildwood Circle, Statesboro 

▲ Old Statesboro Police Department   Grady Street, Statesboro 

➤ 11–11:30 a.m.

▲ Olney Station, Olney Station Drive, Stilson

▲ Statesboro Public Library Parking Lot, 124 South Main Street, Statesboro

▲ Park Place Apartments, 230 Lanier Drive, Statesboro

▲ Pecan Grove Mobile Home Park, 263 Pecan Grove Road, Portal

▲ Barnes Mobile Home Park, Lakeside Drive, Statesboro

➤ 11:05–11:15 a.m.

▲ Cone Homes, Highway 80 East, 33 Cone Homes

▲ Country Store, Hwy 19 and Hwy 80, Stilson

➤ 11:15–11:30 a.m.

▲ Portal Crossing       Portal Crossing, Portal 

➤ 11:20–11:30 a.m.

▲ Blakewood Apartment    620 E. Oliff Street , Statesboro

▲ Deloach’s Mobile Home Park      Bragan Rd/Hwy 67, Nevils

➤ 11:20–11:45 a.m.

▲ Bragan Mobile Home Park, Bragan Rd/Highway 67, Statesboro

➤ 11:30 a.m.–noon

▲ Julia P. Bryant Elementary School, 421 West Main Street, Statesboro

▲ Portal Middle High School, 27245 Highway 80 West, Portal

▲ North Point Trailer Park, 115 Pamela Way, Statesboro

➤ 11:35–11:50 a.m.

▲ Stadium Plaza, 200 Lanier Drive, Statesboro

➤ 11:40 a.m.–noon

▲ Eldora Farms, Eldora Road, Stilson

➤ 11:40 a.m.–12:10 p.m.

▲ Portal Crossing, Portal Crossing, Portal

➤ 11:45 a.m.–Noon

▲ Rocky Ford (Lockart Voting Precinct),  Rocky Ford Road (1.4 miles off Hwy. 80) 

➤11:40 a.m.–12:15 p.m.

▲ Dry Branch Mobile Home Park, Cypress Lake Road, Statesboro

➤11:50 a.m.–Noon

▲ Eldora Farms, Eldora Road, Stilson

➤ Noon–12:10 p.m.

▲ YMCA of Statesboro  (Old Sallie Z)  409 Clairborne Ave., Statesboro

➤ Noon–12:30 p.m.

▲ Gordon Street Park, Gordon Street, Statesboro

▲ Mattie Lively Elementary School Parking Lot, 204 Debbie Dr., Statesboro

➤ 12:05–12:15 p.m.

▲ Flemington Woods, Ellabell

➤ 12:10–12:20 p.m.

▲ Moore Road, 4342 Moore Road 

➤ 12:20–12:30 p.m.

▲ GMP Martin & Hendrix Intersection  Intersection Martin/Hendrix, Stilson 

In its first eight days, the Bulloch County Schools’ free meal distribution during the coronavirus school closure handed out a total of 13,101 two-meal bags. The program is now reaching more than 2,000 children each day, Monday through Friday.

Gov. Brian Kemp on Thursday extended the closure of all of Georgia’s public primary and secondary schools to April 24.

So now, the Bulloch school system’s emergency meal program, undertaken with U.S. Department of Agriculture school breakfast and lunch funding, will probably be extended through April 24. The local planning group will discuss it when they meet Friday, said Hayley Greene, Bulloch County Schools public relations director.

“Our plan was that we would continue as long as we are closed, so I’m sure we’ll be discussing that, but I can’t see that we wouldn’t,” she said Thursday.

School system Social Work Director Keith Wilkey, Nutrition Director Megan Blanchard, Transportation Director Janet Tanner, Greene and Assistant Superintendent of Business Services Troy Brown meet almost daily to discuss how the program is working.

After opening March 17 with 30 distribution sites, the planners have repeatedly added more locations, until meals are now being delivered to 49 sites.

Meanwhile, the number of children receiving meals has more than doubled, from 975 children first day, to 2,169 children Thursday.

Each white paper bag contains items meant to provide both a breakfast and a lunch, so Thursday’s total can also be looked at as 4,338 meals provided for those 2,169 children.

Food service employees working each morning, Monday through Friday, at two kitchen hubs, Julia P. Bryant Elementary School in Statesboro and Portal Middle High School prepare the entrees, such as sandwiches for lunch, and fill the bags with breakfast and lunch items.  School buses and bus drivers then deliver the meals to the pick-up sites.

The school system published a list of the 49 current sites, with the pickup times for each, on Page 10 of the Thursday, March 26, Statesboro Herald. The updated list also appears on the school system website, from a link in the red “News Alert” section at near the top of the homepage.


Limits of sites

With 49 sites, the program is probably reaching nearly all of the locations it can, Greene told the Herald. The meals are free to any children, from newborns to 18-year-olds who appear in person to receive them. They do not have to be students enrolled in the Bulloch County Schools.

“It’s regardless of income,” Greene said. “They do not have to be one of our students. They don’t even have to be Bulloch County residents, if they are staying here temporarily… .It’s any child, zero to 18.”

But despite the relative lack of restrictions on who can receive the meals, federal rules limit where the school system can distribute them.

“Even though we can serve all children, where we place a site is governed by some USDA restrictions, and that does have to be where we have a certain percentage of population that has free and reduced lunch,” Greene said.

For example, some parents have expressed interest having in a distribution site at Nevils. But Nevils Elementary School does not have enough children who qualify for reduced free and reduced-price meals, she said.

“We could put them as close as we can to Nevils, but we can’t actually place one at the school,” Greene said.

Over 60 percent of the Bulloch County Schools more than 10,000 students qualify, through family applications, for free or reduced-price lunch, she noted. So, if just all of those children showed up, the current program would have to distribute more than 6,000 meal bags daily.

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