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Jim Thorpe school district distributes lunches

Every kid deserves lunch. And when school is in session, they get one regardless of income thanks to federal free and reduced lunch programs.

Local schools are not letting the mandated two-week closure over the COVID-19 virus affect that.

“There’s those kids in need that don’t have the support at home. This is the only meal they’re getting,” said Karrie Flaim, food service director for Jim Thorpe Area School District.

Jim Thorpe Area School District distributed more than 50 lunches between locations at Penn-Kidder and Jim Thorpe Area High school on Tuesday.

They plan to continue the service daily from 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

Lunches are available to anyone under the age of 18, regardless of whether they live in the district. It’s similar to the lunch program the district offers during the summer.

Jim Thorpe Area High School Principal Thomas Lesisko said the lunches can help provide some normalcy in the students’ diets and lives during the school closure.

The district’s food service workers prepared bag lunches, and school support staff wore gloves to help distribute them. The whole interaction takes just seconds, minimizing the risk of any potential virus spread.

“You don’t want to spread germs - everything’s wrapped, everything’s safe. The workers are using gloves. And it’s just going right to the car window,” Lesisko said.

Neighbors have contributed bags, and establishments like the Inn at Jim Thorpe have donated inventory which they can’t use due to the state’s recommended closure of nonessential businesses.

If the bagged lunches become popular, the district is considering adding breakfast as well.

Meanwhile, the district has been attempting to keep students engaged using the district-provided laptops and iPads, while they observe the state-mandated two-week shutdown.

Heather McCullough, a crossing guard for Jim Thorpe Area School District, distributes bag lunches outside Jim Thorpe Area High School on Tuesday. CHRIS REBER/TIMES NEWS
Cindy Kmetz, Jim Thorpe Area High School secretary, helped distribute bag lunches to schoolchildren who are at home due to efforts to stem the spread of the COVID-19 virus.