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Curbside lunch

- Daily Freeman-Journal photo by Teresa Wood Northeast Hamilton Food Director Shari Olson delivers a lunch on Monday to a patron in the school parking lot. Free lunches are available throughout the duration of the COVID-19 school shutdown in Webster City and Blairsburg. There are no income requirements to qualify for the program. People can drive or walk up at the Blairsburg site or at the Webster City Middle School and request the number of meals needed. The food service staff hopes to start distributing hot meals by the end of the week.

It’s a new take on the idea of drive-in and carry-out, but the Webster City School District is distributing free lunches beginning this week to children ages 18 and younger during the COVID-19 closure of area schools.

All children in the district are eligible to receive the USDA approved lunch, announced WC Supt. Dr. Mandy Ross at the district’s board meeting last week.  There are no eligibility requirements and there is no limit to the number of meals a family can request.

The lunch stations are located at the Webster City Middle School circle drive and at the Northeast Hamilton Day Care Center entrance.  Cars drive up, state the number of meals needed and helpful staff immediately distribute the bagged meals.

Even students on foot can pick up a lunch. 

With social distancing enforced, the entire process takes about 15 seconds.  That is unless the kids are in the car and want to say hello to their favorite Lunch Lady.

Lunches are available from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m., Monday through Wednesday.  Beginning on Thursday, the hours will change to 11 a.m. – noon, according to Todd Hartnett, WC Director of Food Services.

“We hope to start serving hot lunches later this week,” said Harnett.  “Possibly starting on Thursday.”

The cold lunches include a sandwich, fruit, vegetable, chips, cheese and choice of milk, stated NEH Food Director Service Director Shari Olson.  

The meals are packaged daily and are meant to eaten that day, stated Harnett.  Long-term storage of any food items in the lunch is discouraged.

The food service staff had no idea how many lunches they expected to distribute during the initial drive-through on Monday.  

“This is our first day,” said Harnett.  “It’s kind of touch-and-go.”

Close to the end of Monday’s distribution, Harnett estimated that about 100 lunches were picked up in Webster City and 35 at Northeast Hamilton.

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