FLETCHER - With public school closures ordered by the Oklahoma State Department of Education beginning on March 17, some local districts have been left to find alternative ways to feed students beyond school walls. Area schools have been taking different approaches. Cyril, Fletcher and Sterling Public Schools are all trying various options to make sure students in need have access to meals. While Cyril and Fletcher both qualify to continue meal service at no cost to low-income students after the OSDE received approval on two waivers from the U.S. Department of Agriculture last week, Sterling reportedly does not.
FPS cafeteria worker, Brenda Prince, said the school began handing out to-go sack lunches to students on Monday, March 23. While the school remains closed to the public, students are allowed to come to the cafeteria doors between 11 a.m. - 12 p.m. where they will be provided with a daily meal to take home. The reimbursable meals have all the similar components to what they would receive if school were still in session, said Brenda. Tucked in paper and plastic sacks will be food items such as ham and cheese sandwiches, the classic peanut butter and jelly or a hot pocket, choice of milk and "all the trimmings." For those in need that are unable to make it to the school to pick up a meal for their child, FPS has volunteers that can deliver. In order to schedule a meal delivery for a qualifying FPS student, you are asked to call the elementary school at (580) 6020 or the Junior/High School at (580) 6015 between 8 a.m. - 10 a.m. FPS will tentatively provide the student meals Monday - Thursday until April 2, but with ever-changing events, Brenda said the timeline may be extended. While the current feeding program is set up to feed about 400 students at FPS, Brenda says only 35 meals were handed out on Monday. By the following day, the number of children coming to collect a meal increased to 59.
In Cyril, the school took an entirely different approach. On Tuesday, March 24, volunteers reportedly delivered an entire week's worth of cafeteria meals to the homes of 280 CPS students. The arrangement is subject to change as early as next week, but the school says they will keep announcements current on their website so students and parents can continue to stay informed.
Superintendent Kent Lemons reported that Sterling Public Schools did not qualify for the program, since the school does not have more than 50% of students qualifying for free and reduced lunches. According to Kent, another waiver has been submitted to try and qualify to provide meals, but as of yesterday, no word has been received if it has been approved or not. In the meantime, any SPS student in need can contact Superintendent Lemons at the number listed on the Sterling Schools Facebook page and he has assured that a meal will be provided.