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Akron Public Schools Prepare 9,000 Meals a Day for Students in Need

Students who are fed at school often go hungry in the summer.
Students who are fed at school often go hungry in the summer.

With schools closed during the pandemic, districts are trying to not only educate students, but feed them as well.

In Akron Public Schools, Child Nutrition Coordinator Laura Kepler said the district has had to adapt the types of food it is providing, but the schools still churn out 9,000 meals a day.

That’s about a third of what they do when students are in school.

“Normally those 26,000 meals we do a day are made in our kitchens, and it’s a hot meal on-site. But this being a cold grab and go, just sourcing the food that we need," Kepler said.

Kepler said employees in the kitchen and at distribution centers are working at a social distance.

"The other most difficult thing is these are students coming to pick up food, and there’s this stay-at-home ordernow," Kepler said, "That’s been very difficult to protect our own employees and try to keep people apart.”

Some volunteers distribute meals to students who live too far to walk, but the majority of meals are picked up from school by students and their guardians.

Since Akron Schools began pickup services on St. Patrick's Day, 75,000 meals have been given to students.

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David Williams is an intern at WKSU for summer 2019. A junior at Kent State, Williams is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in multimedia journalism. Williams has reported for The Kent Stater, the university’s student-run newspaper, since spring 2018. His interests include history and politics.