Lunch program rolls on


The Summer Lunch Program at Delaware City Schools has been going for several weeks and is serving fewer meals than last year, although more meals are being handed out than in years prior to the pandemic.

Delaware City Schools Director of Food Service Sally Rathje said the district has been providing residents with about 1,600 meals a week on average this summer. In 2019 and other prepandemic years, Rathje said the meals were only distributed from Woodward Elementary School and the program would distribute about 86 meals per day. However, last year at the start of the pandemic, the district increased the number of locations that meals could be picked up and was serving 438 meals on average per day.

Rathje said that this summer the district has been serving 243 meals a day on average, but she noted that this is only after two weeks.

“The 45% decrease in the average meals per day for this summer of 2021 compared to (2020) indicates the pandemic is not as severe as last summer and families are either back to work or the food insecurity has decreased,” Rathje said. “It may be too early to tell since we have completed only the first two weeks of summer thus far.”

Rathje said the curbside pickup locations are the same as last summer, but the district is also including weekend meals for students this year as well. Families who pick up on Tuesdays will receive three days of breakfast and lunch meals, while Thursday meals include four days worth of both breakfast and lunch meals.

According to Rathje, the program is only possible because of cooperation within the district.

“The continued pandemic has brought the district departments together as a collaborative effort to feed the children of Delaware City Schools,” Rathje said. “To say, ‘We are in this together’ has certainly been true for all the super heroes in our district to include volunteers, transportation staff, teachers, custodians, administrators, and a special kudos to the food service department for their tireless efforts to ensure the students are fed healthy meals during this pandemic. They are all truly heroes working daily on the frontlines for the students they serve!”

Families are not required to enroll in any type of program and are not required to preorder or sign up to pick up meals, Rathje said.

“Free meals are available to any child from 1-18 years of age,” she said.

The program runs through Aug. 12, and curbside pickup for meals are on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11:30 a.m. to noon at Conger Elementary School and Woodward Elementary School.

Meals are also available at these bus stops on Tuesdays and Thursdays:

• 11:05 a.m. to 11:10 a.m. at Heritage and Adams streets.

• 11:05 a.m. to 11:10 a.m. at Trotters Landing at Warrensburg Road entrance.

• 11:15 a.m. to 11:20 a.m. at 222 Curtis St., entrance of Hidden Ridge Apartments.

• 11:20 a.m. to 11:25 a.m. at Bruce and Downing roads.

• 11:25 a.m. to 11:35 a.m. at 174 Silver Maple at the playground.

• 11:35 a.m. to 11:40 a.m. at 1330 Hanover Road Mobile Home Park at entrance shelter.

• 11:45 a.m. to 11:50 a.m. 2672 Panhandle Road.

More information can be found at

Volunteers Sarah Miller and Barb Rollins load milk and food into a car Tuesday morning as part of the Summer Lunch Program at Conger Elementary School. Sarah Miller and Barb Rollins load milk and food into a car Tuesday morning as part of the Summer Lunch Program at Conger Elementary School. Glenn Battishill | The Gazette
Free meals available to anyone 18 and under

By Glenn Battishill

[email protected]

Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.

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