Atlanta Public Schools to provide 60,000 meals in June

Atlanta Public Schools provided 160,000 meals weekly during the school year to help families during the coronavirus closures. In June, the district will scale down its food distribution program but still offer meals through four partner organizations. AJC file photo. STEVE SCHAEFER / SPECIAL TO THE AJC
Atlanta Public Schools provided 160,000 meals weekly during the school year to help families during the coronavirus closures. In June, the district will scale down its food distribution program but still offer meals through four partner organizations. AJC file photo. STEVE SCHAEFER / SPECIAL TO THE AJC

Atlanta Public Schools will scale back its food distribution program over the summer but still plans to provide 60,000 meals to children in June.

The district has been a major source of food for families since mid-March when school buildings closed in an attempt to curb the spread of the coronavirus. During the school year, which ended last week, APS distributed about 160,000 meals weekly at school sites and along bus routes.

APS is now shifting to a smaller summer distribution plan. The district's food service vendor plans to prepare 20,000 meals a week to be distributed by several partner organizations on June 1, 8 and 15.

Horizons Atlanta, Breakthrough Atlanta, LaAmistad and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta will hand out the meals to children enrolled in their summer programs. Each food pack will include five breakfast meals and five lunches.

Alex Wan, executive director of Horizons Atlanta, said the organization’s summer learning program works with students from underserved neighborhoods. The traditional summer program includes enrichment activities, literacy and math support plus swimming lessons. Typically, students are served breakfast, lunch and a snack, but this summer the program will be virtual.

The organization wanted to make sure it could still find a way to feed students.

“Food insecurity continued to be one of the top priorities,” Wan said.

The Warren Boys & Girls Club and the Whitehead Boys & Girls Club will distribute the APS-provided meals to club members. During a typical summer, children who participate in the club's programs would eat there, but this year the programs are moving online, said David Jernigan , president and CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta.

He said the clubs are “trying to be really thoughtful” in how they spread out and distribute the food.

In normal summers, APS provides breakfast and lunch to students who participate in the district’s summer learning programs at school sites, but those buildings remain closed.

It will cost $3.50 per meal to provide each meal, which will be paid for with federal funding.