BOISE, Idaho — Many Idahoans have fallen on hard times as a direct result of the coronavirus pandemic.
When schools shut down In March, the Boise School District stepped in to provide meals to students in need, who otherwise would go without.
District spokesman Dan Hollar says that need is still there two months later.
"Every day we are serving between 1,400 and 1,800 children, that is between 4,000 and 5,000 meals a day at eight sites, eight schools and three bus routes," Hollar said.
Just recently, the district has expanded its "Grab & Go" meal service to include dinner.
"The demand has not dropped off," Hollar said. "We plan on having enough food for everyone, so if we have some leftover food, that is going to be used the next day. We store it, keep refrigerated, and make sure it is safe."
The district is able to pay for this program thanks to an ongoing federal grant, which helps because COVID-19 has also put a financial strain on the district.
"For us, that means and eight-and-a-half to nine million dollar cut over the next 14 months," Hollar said.
The district also recently received a separate grant to soften the blow of the pandemic.
"The funds that we are getting from the feds through the federal stimulus dollars, the Cares Act, if you will, totals about $3.8 million," Hollar said. "We are using that for online devices, making sure that our families have digital devices to support their online learning."
As for the Grab & Go meal program, Hollar says the district recently got approval to extend the program through July and is looking at continuing the program through August if needed.
"You see the unemployment rate in the state of Idaho, and it is surfacing for us in the form of those Grab & Go meal sites," Hollar said.
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