The school year technically ends June 2, but the Greencastle-Antrim School District will continue feeding local children through June 30.
As soon as Gov. Tom Wolf closed schools in March to limit the spread of COVID-19, the district applied for and received a waiver to open a meal program to all children under 18 who live in the school district, regardless of whether they attend G-A schools, and receive state reimbursement.
Caroline Royer, chief financial officer, told school board members at last week's meeting that the waiver is good until June 30 and confirmed meals will be available through that date.
It is "a goodwill gesture to take care of kids the first month of summer," said board member Scott Hart. Not only does it help families with grocery bills, but it gives the kids a sense of normalcy to see people from the district and eat what they would normally eat at school.
During the time school was supposed to be in session, food service is costing the district about $68,000, Royer told the board.
Under Act 13, the district is required by the to pay all employees no more or less compensation than they would have received had the pandemic not happened, according to Royer.
"Therefore we paying all food service employees their regular salary and only being reimbursed by the state and federal government meal program on a per meal basis," she said.
"From March 16th through June 2, we estimate we will lose approximately $68,000 due to paying the full staff, purchasing food and other needed items," according to Royer. "We pay for food and all other supplies and we get reimbursed on a per meal basis. From June 2 through June 30, we will be able to staff appropriately and minimize our losses."
The district is serving approximately 270 students and 3,240 meals per week. Each student usually receives two breakfasts and two lunches on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays during the distribution from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Greencastle-Antrim Middle School, 370 S. Ridge Ave.
The schedule will be different later this month due to Memorial Day. Extra meals will be provided on Friday, May 22, and there will be no distribution on Monday, May 25. Extra food will be given out on Tuesday, May 26, and there will not be a distribution on Wednesday, May 27.
The complete schedule is May 13, 15, 18, 20, 22, 26 and 29.
On Friday, May 22, two Pennsylvania State Police troopers will help hand out the bagged meals.
"We recognize this is a very difficult time for so many right now. Assisting with meal service is a small way PSP can lend a helping hand to the communities we serve," said Trooper Kelly Smith, community service officer for Troop H, which covers Perry, Cumberland, Dauphin, Adams and Franklin counties.
"PSP members regularly visit schools for programs, mentoring and lunch visits. Since school is no longer in session, meal distribution is a way our members can still positively interact with youth," said Smith, who will in Greencastle Trooper Heather Lynch from the Chambersburg barracks.
Troop H is also doing video conference calls with classrooms, using social media to provide outreach and conducting donation drives to benefit the community throughout its coverage area, Smith said.
Several school board members also offered to step in if manpower becomes an issue after June 2 since food service do not normally work during the summer and district administrators will need to begin planning duties for the next school year.
For more information on the meal program, contact Nancy K. Foust, G-ASD food service director, at: