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St. Paul Public Schools provide weekly meals for students in need

District officials are providing food to kids via bus stop delivery and pickups.

ST PAUL, Minn. — Dozens of volunteers made up of teachers and parents gathered at Central High School in St. Paul Thursday morning to help deliver 68,000 meals to families in need throughout St. Paul Public Schools.

The district is using dozens of school bus drivers to deliver the meals. Drivers are running their normal routes but pickups and drop offs are being done a little differently. 

"The families like you saw wait or the students themselves wait at the bus stop at their normal pickup time, they wait right there and then they receive the box with the food," said Central High School Environmental Science teacher and volunteer, Rubens Modelli.  

"Some bus stops depending on the area you see a lot of students and you also may go to one stop and all your lunches are gone," said Bus Driver Shantell Hutchinson. 

Each box is equipped with breakfast and lunch for a week's supply of meals. 

"Its got some good stuff in there, everything in there is pretty much healthy, there aren't any potato chips, sweets or stuff like that," said Hutchinson. 

For the meals that aren't distributed, they end up at one of six locations across the city so families who may have missed out along the route can actually have access to food. 

It's meals the Walter family says wouldn't be possible otherwise for their family of six. 

"This will really help our family because we're really struggling with money and stuff, and we can't afford to go in and out of stores, we're kind of living paycheck to paycheck at this point," said Josephine Walter. 

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70% of the 36,000 students in St. Paul public schools are on free and reduced lunch, many of whom district leaders say is their only source of food, and at this point, a boxed meal come sunrise, they say is the least they can do for those in need. 

"They're definitely making a difference," said Walter. 

District leaders say meals will be distributed every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. For families who miss meal route drop-offs, meals for kids will be available from 10:00-11:30 at the following locations: 

  • Johnson Sr. (1349 Arcade St.) 
  • Harding (1540 E. 6th St.) 
  • Highland Sr. (1015 S. Snelling Ave.) 
  • Cherokee Heights (694 Charlton St.)
  • Battle Creek Middle (2121 N Park Dr.) 
  • Como Sr. (740 W. Rose Ave.)

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The state of Minnesota has set up a hotline for general questions about coronavirus at 651-201-3920 or 1-800-657-3903, available 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

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