The Hawaiʻi State Department of Education (HIDOE) Grab-and-Go school meals program wrapped up today after its final lunch service on Friday, July 17. Over 17 weeks of operation, the program provided over 1.3 million school meals for breakfast and lunch to children ages 18 or younger at nearly 80 public schools and community locations on Oʻahu, Kauaʻi, Maui, Molokaʻi, Lānaʻi and Hawaiʻi Island from March 23 through July 17.
“The Grab-and-Go meals program was a tremendous effort that ensured that our keiki would receive nutritional meals during the spring school closure and summer months in our communities with the highest need,” Superintendent Dr. Christina Kishimoto said. “We send our utmost gratitude to the hundreds of our dedicated school cafeteria, support, administrative and food service staff statewide for working tirelessly since March, many without taking a break, to keep our keiki fed during this time of economic uncertainty. We also thank our many community partners who donated food, snacks, drinks, containers, personal protective equipment, and distribution sites to help us reach more keiki, especially in remote areas.”
The program provided free breakfasts and lunches to all children 18 and younger regardless of their enrollment at public, private or homeschools or eligibility for free and reduced-price meals, with on-site distribution conducted through drive-thru and walk-up pick-ups. Program funding was provided by the US Department of Agriculture.
School cafeterias and kitchens will now begin preparations for the new school year with maintenance and deep cleaning of equipment and facilities. School meals will return to modified operations when schools reopen on Aug. 4. Students will be able to pick up their meals only at their schools of enrollment and normal payment schedules will apply. Schools that will follow Blended, Rotational or Hybrid Learning schedules will designate pick-up locations on campus where students who are distance learning may pick up and pay for meals. On-campus dining may include students taking grab-and-go meals back to their classrooms or other locations and staggered meal schedules to ensure social distancing. Specific details will be provided to parents and guardians by each school directly.
HIDOE remains committed to reopening schools safely on August 4 for the fall semester. As the COVID-19 situation evolves or as new health and safety guidance becomes available, HIDOE will adjust plans to ensure that a safe learning and working environment is provided for students, teachers and staff. For more information about the Department’s Return to Learn plan, click here.