Summer Meal Program

Avery Estay, 5, and her mother, Meghan O’Connor, pick up lunch in 2017 at Colter Elementary School during the school district's summer meals program. The district will employ a similar program at Jackson Hole high School to ensure kids can access meals during school closures this week.

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One potential consequence of schools shutting down is students could miss the school meals some rely on to cover their daily nutritional needs.

Teton County School District No. 1 announced that as part of its school closures, it would provide meals to students for the next week until spring break starts. The setup will look a lot like the district's summer meal program.

Any child under the age of 19, no matter their socioeconomic level or if they are an enrolled student, will be able to pick up food at Jackson Hole High School from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday, and from 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. Two grab-and-go meals will be served at a time, so students can come just one time and get everything they need.

Transportation will not be available for students, nor will the district be able, as of now, to provide delivery of meals to students who are unable to get to the high school.

"Today we are relying on the community and parents to be able to access those themselves," information coordinator Charlotte Reynolds said. Delivery is "something we are exploring and figuring out what options may exist to expand and make it more convenient for families."

Providing meals to all students at no cost, rather than just those on free or reduced meals, won't be cheap. To help Food Services Director Wes Clarke cover costs, the Fund for Public Education is starting an emergency fundraising effort.

"We have hundreds of kids who rely on school meals to meet their daily needs," Executive Director Jennifer Jellen said. "We need to be absolutely certain that support continues." 

The nonprofit doesn't have a goal for the campaign because it remains unclear how long the district will need to offer the meal program. The longer school closures remain in effect, the more the program will cost, so Jellen hopes to raise as much money as possible. Any funds left over, she said, would go into the nonprofit's general fund to support other initiatives.

Those interested in donating can go to FundForPublicEducation.com.

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Contact Tom Hallberg at 732-7079 or thallberg@jhnewsandguide.com.

Tom Hallberg covers a little bit of everything, from skiing to long-form feature stories. A Teton Valley, Idaho, transplant by way of Portland and Bend, Oregon, he spends his time outside work writing fiction, splitboarding and climbing.

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