Montgomery County – Students and families in need during the COVID-19 pandemic have found hope in a meal delivery service provided by the Montgomery County School System.

The School Nutrition Office and Transportation Services found a way to give back to the community, providing meals to families of students in need. The program has served over 65,000 meals in the past six weeks.

“Feeding children forges a bond between the schools and those served that transcends meal delivery and brings out the joy of sharing mealtime, of growing closer to parents and siblings, and invites discussions of current events and future goals,” said School Nutrition Director Julie Metcalf.  “Without a good meal as a foundation for such gatherings, they might never occur.”

It has been a humbling experience for many of the school system employees, opening their eyes to the differences between students in the county’s schools.

“You realize that you have all kinds of situations in your county. It makes you realize how important every facet of a public school is. Quite frankly, I’m amazed every day,” said Mark Crain, director of pupil personnel. "The gratitude that the kids are showing and that the parents are showing has never changed, has never wavered. There has never been a situation where it has been expected and that’s refreshing. That’s what, to me, has been the high point of doing this.”

The program is open to any student in the school system who is 18 or younger. Students can pick up meals on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from three school pickup locations, several neighborhood pickup locations and can even arrange home delivery.

“Delivering meals during this closure has enabled the staff and kids to stay acquainted, despite the separation,” said Metcalf.  “Seeing these hungry and grateful children makes the staff walk in from the meal sites with big smiles. Our efforts are a tangible reminder to parents and children alike that the nutrition staff cares about them.”