HUDSON — Columbia and Greene county schools are stepping up to provide meals to students and gather child care resources for essential workers amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s March 16 executive order in part directed all schools in the state to “develop a plan for alternative instructional options, distribution and availability of meals, and child care, with an emphasis on serving children of parents in the health care profession or first responders who are critical to the response effort.”
The Hudson City School District expanded meal pick-up starting Monday to locations in Hudson and Stottville. The locations are Montgomery C. Smith Elementary School, 102 Harry Howard Ave.; Hudson Junior and Senior High School, 215 Harry Howard Ave.; the parking lot across the street from Providence Hall, 119 Columbia St.; the former John L. Edwards Primary School, 306 State St.; Oakdale, 53-99 N. 6th St.; Questar III Educational Center, 131 Union Turnpike; Hudson Youth Center, 16 S. 3rd St.; and Stottville Firehouse, 2771 Atlantic Ave., Stottville.
The meals are available for pickup Monday through Friday between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. They are available to all children 18 and younger, free of charge. This includes children who attend a child care center within the district that participates in Head Start.
Eighteen staff members are preparing 500 breakfasts and 500 lunches at each school building starting Monday, Food Service Director Christopher Bateman said. They have ordered enough food to prepare up to 1,500 of each type as demand continues to rise.
“It is essential in these uncertain times that HCSD continues to be there to serve our families in any way we can,” Bateman said. “Many of our families have come to depend on us providing meals to their children while schools are open, now more than ever, with the possibility of prolonged closure, HCSD can and will make every effort to continue to provide sustenance to our students.”
Those who pick up at the elementary school are asked to use the driveway in the back of the building where buses drop off students and look for a school representative. At the high school, parents and guardians may use the driveway in the front of the building where buses drop off and pick up students.
At all other locations, parents and guardians should look for a yellow school bus. Adults and children alike should remain in their vehicles to pick up the grab-and-go style meals, which consist of lunch and the next day’s breakfast. Those without vehicles can walk up to pick up food, but should practice social distancing, leaving at least six feet between themselves and others.
The Hudson Bluehawk Nation Afterschool Program is providing child care for school-aged children of essential workers at the elementary school Monday through Friday 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., and the district is placing younger children with existing licensed day care providers. More information on the meal program and childcare can be found at hudsoncsd.org.
Chatham Central School District families can call the district’s food service director at 518-392-1536, said District Superintendent Sal DeAngelo.
Germantown Central School District families can drive through to pick up grab-and-go meals at the bus loop at the Route 9G entrance from 10 a.m. to noon on Tuesdays and Fridays. Friday’s pick-up will include breakfast and lunch for Monday and Tuesday, and Tuesday’s will include meals for Wednesday through Friday.
Ichabod Crane Central School District is providing daily free bagged breakfast and lunch to children under the age of 18 at Ichabod Crane High School Cafeteria from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., First Presbyterian Church of Valatie from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., and St. Joseph’s Catholic Church from 10 a.m. to noon. Donations to the Valatie Food Pantry are accepted at the cafeteria from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
The ICCSD recommends essential workers contact Child Care Connections of Family of Woodstock at 518-822-1944 or OK Kids for kindergarten through sixth grade students to find child care programs.
New Lebanon Central School District cut its delivery days to Tuesdays and Thursdays in an effort to reduce contact for families and staff. It is not decreasing the number of meals.
Taconic Hills Central School District is sending busses to bus stops loaded with breakfasts and lunches to arrive approximately three hours after a child’s regular bus pickup time.
The Catskill Central School District is providing lunch and a snack on weekdays. The district has 12 distribution locations, which can be found with times at catskillcsd.org. All food that is left at the end of the day is donated to the Matthew 25 Food Pantry in the village of Catskill. Delivery is also available if needed, by calling 518-943-2300, ext. 1413, the day prior to delivery.
Coxsackie-Athens School District is taking a different approach, having one pick-up location at the high school from 7:30 to 9 a.m., 24 Sunset Blvd., and delivery to bus stop locations communicated via email with families who sign up at cacsd.org. The breakfast and lunch deliveries start at 9 a.m., and are available Monday through Thursday.
Cairo-Durham Central School District set up a phone line for parents and guardians to sign up students for breakfast and lunch at 518-622-3231, ext. 35203. Pick-up locations are Cairo-Durham Elementary School at 424 Main St., Cairo, and Durham Elementary Building at 4099 Route 145, Durham, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Greenville Central School District is providing pick up times from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. on March 23, 25 and 30. On March 23, four meals, two breakfasts and two lunches will be available for pickup. On March 25, six meals will be available, and on March 30, four meals will be available. The pick-up locations are First Baptist Church in Westerlo, Rensselaerville Fire House, Medway Congregational Christian Church, and Greenville Central School District Middle School-High School.
Hunter-Tannersville Central School District families can pick up from 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. Monday and Wednesday. Tuesday’s meal is also picked up Monday, and the rest of the meals on Wednesday at the Haines Falls Fire Department, Tannersville Fire Department, Hunter Fire Department or Lexington Fire Department. Parents and guardians can email firstname.lastname@example.org for information.
Windham-Ashland-Jewett Central School District is partnering with the Windham Community Food Pantry at Hope Restoration Church to distribute to students on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to noon. The district also provided a list of area food pantries on its website, wajcs.org, for families in need of further assistance.
The Capital District YMCA will be providing child care for emergency personnel at 16 locations, including the Greene County YMCA at 35 Route 81 at Hope Plaza in West Coxsackie. Child care starts at $240 per week and financial assistance is available.
As defined by the state Education Department, emergency health care professionals include licensed health professionals such as physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, registered nurses, LPNs, nurse assistants or laboratory personnel and direct support professionals. The YMCA is also including first responders such as paramedics, emergency medical technicians, police officers and firefighters.
“We want to make sure medical professionals in our community don’t have to worry that their children are in a safe place, as they care for a growing number of our loved ones during this difficult time,” said Capital District YMCA President David Brown.
All Columbia and Greene County school districts are providing meals to students with varying restrictions and processes. Many districts request sign-ups of some sort so food can be prepared accordingly. Families should check their student’s school district’s website for more information.
Abby Hoover is a reporter for Columbia-Greene Media. Contact her at email@example.com.