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Changes made to school grab-and-go meal policy

Changes made to school grab-and-go meal policy

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Dr. Walter Cunningham School for Excellence principal Neldrekka Whitaker talks to families waiting to pick up meals for students during distribution Monday in Waterloo.

WATERLOO -- Effective immediately, children do not have to accompany the adults picking up grab-and-go meals at Iowa’s 303 meal sites, most of them at K-12 schools.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture granted the waiver Thursday in an effort to ease the burden on Iowa families and to get food to the students who need it at this critical time, according to a news release.

Parents and caregivers will be asked to share the name of the school each child attends, if the child is of school age.

“We want to get healthy meals into the hands of students while minimizing the potential exposure to COVID-19,” said Ann Lebo, director of the Iowa Department of Education. “We understand that it isn’t practical for all children to accompany their parents and caregivers at meal sites.”

The grab-and-go meals — which include lunch and a breakfast for the following day in some school districts — are typically offered during the summer. But, with K-12 schools now closed, the program was activated this week during the national coronavirus health crisis.

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"People ... have contacted us and said, 'You know what? I never thought I'd be in this situation, but I am.' And I said, 'That's what the Food Bank is here for.'"

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