PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — As the School District of Philadelphia prepares to begin some in-class instruction next month, it’s also expanding its meal distribution to address the growing food needs faced by students. There was a steady stream of cars at The High School for Creative and Performing Arts in South Philadelphia.

Families drove through to pick up grab-and-go meals provided by the Philadelphia School District.

“When they pull up, we have a staff member asking how many children are in your household and based off of that number you will receive the corresponding boxes needed,” said Jarred Lee with the School District of Philadelphia.

Hundreds of boxes of breakfast and lunch meals for a seven-day supply were distributed at the site, which now makes up 102 distribution areas throughout the city.

“We opened 30 more sites today. Today is the first day of distribution at those other 39 sites. Essentially we were looking to blanket the city for convenience, for parents to be able to pick up meals for their kids,” Lee said.

“It just takes a burden off of families having to worry about feeding the kids,” mother Torrie Johnson said.

Johnson is grateful for the help the meals provide. She’s juggling work and trying to help her 12-year-old son Jamir navigate virtual learning at home.

“It’s been a lot trying to play home teacher as well as still trying to work and do everything that I need to do outside of the home. It’s been a big adjustment,” Johnson said.

“I just miss seeing my teachers and playing with my friends and sitting next to them in lunch,” Jamir said.

The school district is set to begin bringing pre-K through second grade students back into the classroom in February in a hybrid learning setting. But the grab-and-go meals will continue to be distributed every Friday from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m.

For families, it’s a much-needed resource during unprecedented times.


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