Thursday, May 14, 2020

Pottsgrove Ponders Summer Meal Distribution

Cars line-up for food distribution at Lower Pottsgrove Elementary School for meal distribution in late March.

As the school year winds down, the question of whether Pottsgrove will continue to provide meals to
its students is now on the table.

The question came up at the end of Tuesday's school board meeting.

Superintendent William Shirk said the district has already begun discussions with the company that provides the meals.

Pottsgrove School Board member Ashley Custer volunteers 
helping distribute school meals at Lower Pottsgrove.
"There are a lot of moving parts," said Shirk. "Stay tuned for more information."

As of May 11, the district has distributed 71,568 meals to student families since if began the week of March 16.

Five days worth of breakfasts and lunches are distributed on Mondays at two elementary school buildings in Lower Pottsgrove and West Pottsgrove.

At many school districts around the region, particularly in low-income regions, school districts have provided varying levels of food for students who my rely on those meals as part of their daily sustenance.

Normally, the only meals schools provide over the summer months are through township parks and recreation programs, such as in Pottstown. But the stay-at-home protocols now in place put those programs into question.

Prepared meals await distribution at
Lower Pottsgrove Elementary 
School in late March.
As a matter of some interest, Gary DeRenzo, Pottsgrove's director of co-curricular programs and
community relations, informed the board Tuesday that there was a drop off in the number of meals picked up at Monday's distribution.

He said 1,800 fewer meals were distributed and said there was similar drop-off after the Easter holiday.

"It may be there were more left-overs from Mother's Day, or more people went away to visit mom, we don't know, DeRenzo said.

Business Manager David Nester said it is also possible that as some businesses open up, "more people were back at work and not waiting for food."

When less food than has been prepared is picked up, DeRenzo said what can be frozen for use the following week is, and the remaining food is taken to families in the Rolling Hills public housing complex "to families that are unable to drive or have no transportation."

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