The number of families seeking meals from the Greencastle-Antrim School District during the COVID-19 closure jumped dramatically about two weeks ago, according to Nancy Foust, food service director.
Foust was the first point of contact Monday as vehicles drove up to the front of Greencastle-Antrim Middle School. She would let the administrators, who were wearing masks and gloves, know how many bags were needed for each vehicle.
They ferried the food from the lobby of the middle school, where there also were tables covered with boxes of locker contents that are being returned to students.
Blue, the Greencastle-Antrim School District mascot, was on hand to help out Monday. The costumed character, with high school student Joe Paci inside, wore a mask in keeping the Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf's coronavirus instructions.
"Look, he's wearing a mask, too!" one person could be remarking from the steady stream of vehicles.
Will Confer, the school police officer, was directing traffic and got a kick out of kids' reactions to his skeleton mask.
The district has been providing meals for children since the governor ordered schools closed in March to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
March 24, the first day meals were available, 165 children were fed. The number quickly climbed above 200 and now stands around 310.
That translates to 3,720 meals a week. Each bag contains two breakfasts and two lunches and distributions are held three times a week, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at Greencastle-Antrim Middle School, 370 S. Ridge Ave.
Meals are available for anyone younger than 18 regardless of what school they attend and whether they are eligible for free or reduced lunches.
People should remain in their vehicles and the bags will be brought to them. All children for whom meals are requested must be present.
For more information, contact Foust at:
Greencastle-Antrim Middle School is in the process of reuniting students and their belongings.
Contents of hall and gym lockers are being boxed up, with pickup last week for eighth-graders, this week for seventh-graders and next week for sixth-graders.
Students like to personalize their lockers with "photos and little gems that are important to them," said Principal Mark Herman.
Some lockers were "scary full," according to Herman, who said
after one mother opened her child's packed box "She said, 'Oh, I am so sorry!' and we enjoyed a joint parental chuckle."
He added it is nice to get a chance to see and interact with students in person from a safe distance.
Cubbies and desks are being cleaned out at the primary and elementary schools and parents have been advised of grade-level pickup days and times on May 11, 12 and 13, according to Chad Stover, elementary principal. Parents have been given maps to show the route they should take. Bags containing students' items will be brought to them by staffers wearing masks and gloves.
High school students took most belongings with them when they went home on March 13, when schools shutdown.
The high school is working individually with families if items left behind — such as sneakers — are needed, said Chris Reiber, assistant principal.