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Education

Akron Public Schools Prepare 9,000 Meals a Day for Students in Need

photo of children eating lunch at school
USDA
During a typical school day, students in Akron Public Schools are provided nearly 26,000 meals for breakfast and lunch.

With schools closed during the pandemic, districts are trying to not only educate students, but feed them as well.

In Akron Public Schools, Child Nutrition Coordinator Laura Kepler said the district has had to adapt the types of food it is providing, but the schools still churn out 9,000 meals a day.

That’s about a third of what they do when students are in school.

“Normally those 26,000 meals we do a day are made in our kitchens, and it’s a hot meal on-site. But this being a cold grab and go, just sourcing the food that we need," Kepler said.

Kepler said employees in the kitchen and at distribution centers are working at a social distance.

"The other most difficult thing is these are students coming to pick up food, and there’s this stay-at-home order now," Kepler said, "That’s been very difficult to protect our own employees and try to keep people apart.”

Some volunteers distribute meals to students who live too far to walk, but the majority of meals are picked up from school by students and their guardians.

Since Akron Schools began pickup services on St. Patrick's Day, 75,000 meals have been given to students.