Schools throughout Massachusetts are providing free grab-and-go meals for kids ages 0-18 during the 2020-21 school year. The waivers that allow for universal free meals make it possible for children and youth to access meals from any participating program. There are no eligibility requirements. You do not have to live in a particular town or attend a particular school to get these meals. Scroll down for information on Franklin County school districts with “Free Meals for Kids” programs that are particularly accessible.
We will update this post regularly, but please check here: http://bit.ly/FCFoodResourcesList for comprehensive, current information about Food Access Resources in Franklin County during the COVID-19 public health crisis.
Project Bread offers “Find a Meal” tools for sites throughout Massachusetts. There’s a handy map on this page: https://meals4kids.org/find-summer-meal-site. We recommend contacting sites to confirm details before visiting.
School Closure Meal Sites & Schedules
If you have questions about a specific district’s COVID-19 school closures meal program, contact the Food Services Department for that district or school.
Sites in Greenfield:
Greenfield Public Schools distributes meals from 10am-1pm on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
Locations (all open from 10am-1pm):
- Greenfield Middle School
- Greenfield High School
- Newton Elementary School
- Oak Courts
Contact: Eliza Calkins, Director, Food and Nutrition Services
413-772-1334 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Sites in Montague, Turners Falls, and Gill
Gill-Montague Regional School District distributes meals on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Here is the schedule:
- Turners Falls High/Great Falls Middle School – Front entrance 11:00 am-1:00 pm
- Sheffield Elementary School – Front entrance 11:45 am-12:45 pm
- Montague Catholic Social Ministries, Turners Falls – 11:45 am-12:30 pm
- Afterschool pick up time: Turners Falls High School – Front Entrance 3:00 pm-4:30 pm
Kuzmeskus uses will be distributing along these routes:
- Route 1
- Hillcrest Elementary (student drop off parking lot) 11:00 am – 11:15 am
- Unity Park parking lot 11:25 am – 11:40 am
- Millers Falls (Franklin Street – near Carroll’s) 11:50 pm – 12:05 pm
- Four Winds School, Riverside Gill 12:15 pm – 12:30 pm
- Route 2
- Montague Center Town Common 11:10 am – 11:25 am
- Lake Pleasant, Rutter’s Park 11:30 am – 11:45 am
- 3rd St Rendezvous Parking Lot, Turners Falls 11:50 pm – 12:05 pm
- Hillcrest Homes (Griswold & Ave C) 12:10 pm – 12:25 pm
More information: http://gmrsd.org/welcome-gmrsd/departments/food-services
Contact: Joanne Blier at email@example.com or 413-863-3251.
Sites in Northfield and Bernardston
Pioneer Valley Regional School District distributes meals on Fridays – up to 5 breakfasts and 5 lunches in a grab-and-go format. You must pre-order for the coming week by 9p.m. on Monday by completing an online form for each child, which you can find on this page:
Schedule for the Friday pickups:
- Northfield Elementary School, 12:30-1:00 pm in the back parking lot.
- Bernardston Elementary School, 12:30-1:00 pm in the parking lot by the gymnasium entrance.
- Pioneer Valley Regional School, 11:30-12:00pm on the North End of the building in the parking lot by the Gymnasium entrance.
Contact: Michael Onorato, Food Service Director
firstname.lastname@example.org | 413-498-2911 ext 602
Frequently Asked Questions:
Who can participate?
Any person 18 and under can receive free bagged meals, while supplies last. There are no residency or income requirements, and participants do not have to be enrolled in the district sponsoring the meals. Adults can pick up meals on behalf of children.
Is it safe?
The food is being prepared in sanitary conditions and the bagged meals are being distributed in ways that limit contact. You can help make it safer by doing these things:
- Wash or sanitize your hands before you get your meals
- Try not to touch your face or other people
- Practice social distancing, such as covering your face and standing at least 6 feet away from people who aren’t in your household
- Leave the distribution site once you have your meals.
- Do not come if you have a fever, a cough, a sore throat, or if your chest feels congested.
Is it safe for people who have food allergies?
Look for an allergy statement from the district on the menu for these meals, and when you come to pick up meals, be sure to inform staff of food allergies. You can contact the Food Services director for the district that is sponsoring the meals with specific concerns and questions.
How are districts able to do this? Greenfield Public Schools, Gill-Montague Regional School District, and other districts participate in the USDA Summer Food Service Program. The USDA and the MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education provided waivers that expanded the program during the pandemic. Volunteers and generous donations from local companies including Dean’s Beans have helped immensely, as well!
How can I help?
If you are 18 or under, or you have kids who are, and everyone in your household is symptom-free, participating is helpful. School districts are typically reimbursed based on the number of meals served.
If your children are enrolled in school, it’s also very helpful to fill out the school’s application for free- or reduced-price lunch. Schools get funding based on the percentage of students who qualify, and when the waivers that are making universal free meals possible end, only families that qualify will be eligible for subsidized meals.
Another way to help is to share accurate information about where kids in our area can get free meals and other resources, and about things people can do to help slow the spread of COVID-19 in our community. The Look4Help online directory is a good place to start: https://www.look4help.org/guided-search/covid-19-updates-to-resources/