Grab & Go Meals Giving Gahanna Families a Helping Hand During Pandemic

In-home learning has certainly presented a fair amount of challenges for parents across Gahanna-Jefferson Public Schools, and throughout the country.

While families navigate the ins and outs of distance learning as we continue to combat this virus, one thing they don’t have to worry about is meal prep, thanks to the district’s new Grab & Go Meal Program.

Grab & Go Meal pickup at Middle School West in March before wearing masks.

Linda Green, Gahanna’s child nutrition supervisor, says when the pandemic hit and distance learning began last March, they had to move fast to set up a program to ensure the nutritional needs of the district’s children were met.

This fall, the Child Nutrition Department continues to offer meals to all PreK - 12 students during our distance learning plan, which began Monday, August 24. The weekly Grab & Go Meal Packs include a breakfast and lunch for each school day.

(Left) Grab & Go Meal prep at Lincoln High School. (Right) First pickup in March at Lincoln High School.

For the 2020-2021 school year, GJPS added a late day pick-up option at the high school to help busy families.

“Accessibility is so important, especially for needy families and those working parents who don’t always have the freedom to come pick up the food during the day,” said Green.

• Lincoln High School 11:00am-12:30pm or 4-6pm

• Jefferson Elementary 11:00am-12:30pm

• Middle School West 11:00am-12:30pm

• Goshen Lane Elementary 11:00am-12:30pm

• Royal Manor Elementary 11:00am-12:30pm

Many families from across the district have signed up to receive the meal packs each week, which include nutritious items such as fruit, veggies, milk, protein and grains. The district also expanded the offerings to include items that can be heated up, branching beyond cold sandwiches.

“We always try to have the kids’ favorites, but we also balance the required nutrients to make sure it is a healthy meal,” said Green.

The program is partially funded by the USDA and follows the same nutritional guidelines that the regular school meal program follows. For Green, it is rewarding to be able to support the district’s families during this challenging time.

“It’s gratifying to see on social media when someone says this helped their child feel normal, like they are actually in school,” she said. “We want to take some stress off of parents as well, so they have a few less meals to plan for their child.”

Menus and nutritional information are available on the district’s website. Please complete the required School Meal Order Form to sign up for Grab & Go Meals and look for future communications about our Grab & Go Meals as we transition to the hybrid learning plan.

Grab & Go pickup at Goshen Lane Elementary in March before wearing masks.