Despite the current closure of Hastings Public Schools due to concerns over the novel coronavirus disease, or COVID-19, “grab-and-go” meals will be provided on weekdays for anyone age 18 and under.

The program begins Thursday.

Meal pick-up sites are Hastings High School, 1100 W. 14th St.; Hastings Middle School, 201 N. Marian Road; Alcott Elementary, 313 N. Cedar Ave.; and Lincoln Elementary, 720 S. Franklin Ave.

Pick-up times are 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday. Each individual will receive a sack lunch and breakfast items for the following day. Extra food will be sent home on Fridays to help with the weekend.

The meals are intended for anyone age 18 and under, and not just for HPS students.

***UPDATE*** It's important to note that under regulations of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Nebraska Department of Education, the young people for whom the meals are intended must be present at the time of pick-up.

The grab-and-go meal program was announced by the school district Tuesday morning.

In the Hastings Public School District, which has a high percentage of students eligible for free and reduced-priced meals, food insecurity is a major factor.

In discussing the decision to close schools for this week on Sunday, HPS Superintendent Jeff Schneider said finding ways to continue connecting students with nutritious meals was a top priority for him and his staff.

“We hate to do this to our community,” Schneider said, acknowledging the disruption the closure would cause for students and their families.

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