School may be closed but no student will go hungry in Kilgore ISD.

That’s the aim of a new free meal pickup program instituted Monday at Kilgore Middle School and Kilgore High School campuses. Starting Monday, the district began serving free bagged lunches, including hamburgers and hot dogs, along with bottles of milk to KISD students, parents and community members who stopped by the campuses.

KISD Superintendent Dr. Andy Baker said by email a large portion of the student body relies on district food services to get adequate nutrition.

“During our normal course of the school day, not only does Kilgore ISD offer food service to all our students and staff members, we feed approximately 70% of our student population as part of the USDA and TDA school food nutrition program,” Baker said.

The decision follows Baker’s decision to close all Kilgore ISD campuses this week amidst concerns about the spread of COVID-19, also known as the coronavirus. While the campuses were shuttered in the interest of safety, Baker and KISD staff became concerned about how students who regularly rely on school lunches would be fed.

“My decision to close our schools for this week of March 16th – 20th was a social distancing preventive closing decision that I made in an effort of an abundance of caution for the safety of our Kilgore ISD students, staff members, and community. This decision also brought with it the very real concern that many of our students might not have access to food services this week during our closure. Therefore, during this week’s initial school closure period, our district will be preparing meals in a drive up, curbside, “brown bag” fashion.”

On Monday and Tuesday, students, parents and members of the community were treated to a special meal: grilled hamburgers, hot dogs and sausage links.

“Today we have school board members, campus administrators, and community business owners stationed behind our Middle School grilling and passing out brown bags for FREE to whoever in our community might be in need,” Baker said Monday. The hamburgers, hot dogs and sausages were provided by the KHS Baseball Booster club.

Starting Tuesday, and running through the end of this week at least, brown-bag meals will be provided at KMS and KHS to students and community members in need. Pickup locations may be found behind the middle school campus in the bus drive-through area and at the high school campus in the rear of the building in our bus drive-through area. Meals may be picked up from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

In the event of a longer district closure, meals will continue to be provided to students and possibly members of the community as well.

“This week’s meals are free to our students and community members that might need the meal. Starting next Monday, this meal service will go back to being provided to our students...still trying to find out officially if I’ll be able to continue offering meals for non-student community members,” Baker said.

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