Holly — In a large side room of Liz Scott’s business, long tables are covered with hundreds of pre-packed sack lunches.
A volunteer backs up her SUV and several brown bags are loaded in, bound for children in local manufactured home communities.
Monday, March 16, marked day one of an at least three-week school shut down statewide, due to COVID-19.
When school closures were announced, concerns circulated quickly for children who qualify for free and reduced lunches that they might go hungry without school in session.
According to the County Health Rankings & Roadmaps program, 54 percent of Genesee County children qualify. Oakland County has 29 percent and Livingston, 17.
By Monday, local districts had publicized their plans for these students, but this didn’t stop local businesses from doing their part also.
Scott owns Revive Sips & Sweets on Saginaw Street. She offered free sack lunches, no questions asked, through a March 13 Facebook post.
“We knew there was enough need for kids on free and reduced lunches,” she said. “We figured we would make some sandwiches and get some sack lunches out.”
She didn’t expect the idea to go viral with 5,600 shares and 209 comments, but with the help of volunteers and donations, they assembled approximately 300 lunches.
Less than an hour in, they gave out 80, and 150 had been distributed to mobile home parks. They have peanut butter and jelly, turkey and cheese, ham and cheese, gluten free and ramen noodles as well.
Other businesses offer to help
In light of the need, several businesses in the tri-county area had offered free or reduced lunches. For example, The Barn in Fenton offered free lunches to children before restaurants were ordered closed.
Jersey Mike’s in Fenton is offering $2.99 lunch deals for students.
Schools adapt for students
Fenton Area Public Schools (FAPS)
FAPS is providing free cold lunch and breakfasts to anyone under age 18. Current available dates are Wednesday
through Friday, March 18 to 20, and Monday through Friday, March 23 to 27.
Walk-up distribution is at Fenton elementary schools: Ellen St. Campus (West Street parking lot); North Road Elementary (lot nearest kitchen); State Road Elementary (bus loop doors); Tomek-Eastern Elementary (cafeteria doors).
FAPS also have mobile “grab-and-go” stops via school bus. The following are offered between 11:30 and 11:50 a.m.: Dauner Haus entrance; Fenton Oaks entrance and Georgetown Apartments entrance. The following are between 12:10 and 12:30 p.m.: Fifth Third Bank (Trealout Drive/N. LeRoy Street); Silver Lake Hills; East Bay. If you have trouble making one of these locations, you can call (810) 591-4717.
Linden Community Schools (LCS)
LCS will provide lunches at school buses beginning Tuesday, March 17, through Friday, March 27, (Monday through Friday only) from 11 a.m. To noon. Locations are: Linden Elementary School, 400 S. Bridge St.; Tyrone Woods, 8318 Hogan Rd., Fenton; Pine Ridge, 9348 Silver Lake Rd., Linden.
Those with specific dietary or transportation needs can call the Linden Community Food Service Department at (810) 591-0435.
Holly Area Schools (HAS)
HAS established six locations to provide free breakfast and lunch for all children under 18, and all special needs children under 26. Times vary by location.
Holly Elementary School: 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.; Holly Hills Manufactured Home Community (parking lot by clubhouse): noon to 1 p.m.; Meadow Lake Mobile Home Park (parking lot by clubhouse): noon to 1 p.m.; Groveland Manor (driveway by the pool): 10 a.m. To 11 a.m.; Oakhill Estate (parking lot by the clubhouse): 11 a.m. to noon; Springrove (front entrance): noon to 1 p.m.
Lake Fenton Community Schools (LFCS)
LFCS is providing free cold lunch and breakfasts to anyone under age 18. Current available dates are Wednesday through Friday, March 18 to 20, and Monday through Friday, March 23 to 27, from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Locations are Lake Fenton Middle School (front doors), and West Shore Elementary (gym doors.)
Meals are also available to mobile locations, via school bus. (These are “grab and go,” not to be eaten onsite.) The following locations are from 11:30 to 11:50 a.m.: Lake Ponemah Mobile Home Park (Torrey Beach/Eastview Drive); Lake Fenton Estates (N. Lake Drive/Harbor Rd.) and Lake Park Village.
Distribution at Lake Fenton High School is 12:10 to 12:30 p.m. If anyone has trouble reaching a site, they can call (810) 591-2532.