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School system delivering meals to students during shutdown

By Lisa Bass

The Montgomery County Public School system is providing free breakfasts and lunches to all students each weekday during the mandatory two-week closure dictated by the coronavirus.

Every student, regardless of grade or payment method for meals normally provided by the school system is eligible to participate in the bus meal delivery system.

The procedure calls for the buses to roll up the streets to every stop along the route some four hours after the regular morning pickup time. If children are present, an aide wearing gloves steps off the bus to greet them while another aide distributes bags of breakfast items and bags of lunch items. Staff members may be wearing masks. Breakfast and lunch are distributed at the same time.

Avery, Cam and Rory Coggins eagerly meet their bus for the MCPS free meal delivery launched by the school system in the wake of the mandatory school closure.

Students can go to either the elementary or the secondary stop location and stop time. Both routes will be run because they are not identical.

The meals are free for all school-aged children. There are no income or eligibility requirements.

At one stop earlier this week, the students were asked what type of milk they would like and were provided with two cartons of milk. The bus driver asked the students about the whereabouts of a fourth child who is usually at that stop.

Mother Marsha Coggins had just returned home from work when the delivery was made. Her fifteen-year old daughter is taking care of her younger siblings during the school closure.

Coggins said, “I told my kids to use this meal delivery system because I do not know what will be happening to the stores in the next week.”

Her three younger children were seen joyfully exiting the house to meet the bus and received cheese, sandwiches, free milk and chocolate milk.

Siblings Avery Coggins (12), Cam Coggins (age 8) and Rory Coggins (age 7) are among the students taking advantage of the school system’s food delivery service while the schools are closed.

Coggins said, “I have four children and I am lucky to have my oldest daughter to babysit. I worry for the families who do not have the ability to handle the next two weeks. I am grateful for this meal delivery service. I hope parents use it.”

Buses were seen throughout one neighborhood stopping at all the usual bus stops. If no children were present at a stop, the bus played music over a loudspeaker and waited a few minutes for children to show up before driving off to continue the deliveries.

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