MISSOULA — Local school districts still face challenges, but efforts to provide meals for students sent home by the pandemic has emerged as one of the bright spots of these unsettling times.
Case in point are schools in the Bitterroot Valley, which were scrambling to figure out how to make sure kids were getting meals after classes were suspended in March.
In the Hamilton School District, staff and selected volunteers are helping distribute hundreds of meals every day. The program was recently expanded to include food for any families that need it.
"We've been working every day, putting fruit and vegetables and all the good stuff together," Denise Burrows, the Hamilton Schools food service director, said. "Everybody gets a breakfast and a lunch. So lunch for that day and breakfast the following day. If this continues the school board voted for us to continue through the summer.
"So we'll just keep going on it. We see them for breakfast and lunch everyday. So we know they're missing out on that food and we're just glad we can get it for them."
Burrows says supply has been improving in the past couple of weeks.
The meals are offered between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. everyday at the new entrance on the east side of Daly Elementary in Hamilton. That's also where Daly students can pick up their packets of class materials.