Photo: Hearst Connecticut Media File Photo
DANBURY — With the district’s free meals for families on hold for spring break, local nonprofits and a business are filling the void.
The district suspended its food distribution for this week to give volunteers a break during vacation, but connected families to other resources.
“There are multiple opportunities for families to connect with food providers (spring break) week,” Superintendent Sal Pascarella said in a letter to the community.
This includes the New American Dream Foundation, which plans to provide 300 meals to students at Morris Street Elementary School this week.
Meanwhile, Texas Roadhouse is giving out meals to all students from noon to 2 p.m. each day this week. Children will be asked to show their school identification or parents will verify residency through their license.
Parents are asked to place meal orders the day before by 6 p.m. by emailing Loren Daly at email@example.com.
Home deliveries are available for the Danbury area through Hillside Food Outreach, while various other organizations are holding food drives, the school district said.
United Way has partnered with Boehringer Ingelheim and Food Rescue USA to distribute meals to families with children 18 and under from 2:45 to 3:15 p.m. Monday through Friday, at 23 Eden Drive and 1 Meehan Place B.
The Connecticut Food Bank had planned to distribute food on Monday, but postponed due to weather conditions. The distribution is being rescheduled for a day this week at Rogers Park Middle School, the school district said.
The New American Dream Foundation, which has provided nearly $160,000 in financial support to organizations and individuals over the last seven years, purchased its 300 meals from the Amber Room Colonnade, where the nonprofit had planned to hold its annual gala.
The gala, where scholarships are given out, has been postponed from Sept. 19 to June 19, 2021, due to the coronavirus. Instead, the foundation’s resources will go toward supporting the community during the virus.
“Morris Street School represents the future applicants of our scholarship program,” said Celia Bacelar-Palmares, president of the foundation. “In this difficult time, we want to help parents focus on helping their children by providing them with some relief in their nutrition. We will continue to look for ways to assist the immigrant community during the pandemic. We invite you to donate and support our COVID-19 response efforts.”
The first 150 meals will be distributed from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday at Morris Street, with the next 150 meals to be given out at the same time on Thursday.
At Morris Street, 63 percent of students are eligible for free or reduced-price lunch, down from the 2018-19 school year, when more than 90 percent of the school qualified, according to data from the state Department of Education.
Meanwhile, more than 80 percent of students identify as minorities and 57 percent are English language learners, according to 2019-20 data.
The foundation, which is the philanthropic arm of the Tribuna Newspaper, plans to continue its scholarship program in 2021. Nominations for scholarships for the 2020 gala will be placed into consideration for the 2021 awards.
Donations are being collected online for the foundation’s response efforts.