One by one, El Paso County School districts plugged into online learning as the number of coronavirus cases across the state and county rose over the past several months. But even as most districts transitioned to digital learning, children who rely on the education system for meals are still getting fed.
Free or subsidized school lunches help feed 29.4 million children daily, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reports. In August, the agency extended free meal programs for kids through the end of the year using federal funds. The funding is expected to last through June.
"The kids need it, I'll tell you," said Walter Chisman, director of food services for Ellicott School District 22.
Here's a list of the meal programs available within El Paso County school districts, where pickup sites are available and who is eligible for the program.
Children ages birth to 18 are eligible for free meals in District 20.
The pickup locations include: Air Academy High School, Chinook Trail Middle School, Discovery Canyon Middle School, Eagleview Middle School, Mountain Ridge Middle School, Rampart High School, and Timberview Middle School.
Depending on the pickup location, children can get one to three breakfast and lunch meals. Read more about the available pick-up hours here.
Students are eligible for free meals along with their sibling if they are between ages 1 to 18. Meals must be ordered and can be picked up at the student's school or the school closest to each family. Families must pre-order meals by 7:30 a.m. the day of pickup.
School pickup locations include Evans Elementary School, Horizon Middle School, Sand Creek High School, Ridgeview Elementary School, Odyssey Elementary School, Falcon High School, Patriot High School-Falcon Legacy Campus. For more details on pickup times click here.
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Free breakfasts and lunches are available for any children ages 1 to 18 during the remote learning period.
Parents and guardians may pick up curbside meals Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and on Fridays extra meals will be included for the weekend. To find out more about school meals click here.
Free meals are available to online and in-person students, no matter their eligibility for reduced cost meals.
Pickup locations include Monument Meadows Mobile Home Park, Kilmer Elementary School, Century Lane/Century Place bus stop, Palmer Lake Mobile Home Park, the community park in Jackson Creek (Kitchener Way and Venison Creek Drive), Grand View Mobile Home Park, Palmer Lake Elementary, and Beacon Lite Apartments. To see the full list of pick-up times click here.
Students up to age 18 can receive free meals if they are registered using an online form.
Curbside grab-and-go meals are available in Stratmoor at the bus Stop at Wilshire Drive and Cliveden Heights, Southmoor at the bus stop at Luna Drive and Carson Boulevard, and Colorado Centre at Centre Point Park. Pick-up times are available from 11 a.m. to noon daily when school is in session.
To fill out the sign-up form for free meals click here.
Meals will be provided free for students 18 and under. Students can pick up meals at their respective school or fill out a waiver to pick up at a closer school to their home address.
More information can be found here.
Big Sandy 100J:
Any student in the school's program up to age 18 can get free lunches for the rest of the school year.
Families can order lunches by filling out a pickup form and coming to the curbside pickup 12:30 to 12:45 p.m. on school days. For the form and more details, visit this site.
Families can call the closest school in their district to order meals for any students under 18. Information on food service can be found here.
Remote, home-schooled, and children under age 18 not enrolled in in-person learning can sign up for grab-and-go lunches. Three meals are available for pickup on Tuesdays from 9 to 9:30 a.m. at the middle school. Students can sign up on the school website.
The school is offering free meals to students 18 and under whether remote or in-person although no remote students have opted for free meals. Students in the district who want to enroll can call 719-347-2766.
Meals will be provided to students enrolled in the district at Prairie Heights and Hanover Junior Senior High School, but families must order online by 5 p.m. on Mondays using the links for each respective school.
Meals can be picked up at 10 a.m. on Thursdays at each site. For more information click here.
To-go lunches will be available from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on school days at Sierra High School, Fox Meadow Middle School, Pikes Peak Elementary, Centennial Elementary, Soaring Eagles Elementary, Sand Creek International, Stratton Meadows Elementary, Stratmoor Hills Elementary, Mountain Vista Community School and Bricker Elementary.
Families must use an online order form to choose the location where they will pick up a meal for their students. To sign-up click here.
Manitou Springs 14
Free breakfasts and lunches are available for all students at 11 a.m. at Ute Pass and Manitou Elementary Schools. Details for online sign-ups are available here.
Students eat free for the 2020-2021 school year and classes are meeting in person, said Robyn Klunder, the district's business manager.
Edison 54 and Peyton 23JT
School personnel did not immediately respond for comment, and online information was not readily available.
For more details about school meals and locations visit the United States Department of Agriculture's food finder map.