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Volunteers provide free “grab and go” lunches at Trousdale County High School on Monday. This program will continue each weekday while school is out.

Trousdale County Schools is participating in a pair of efforts to feed children during an extended, unexpected break from the classroom.

The school system began providing “grab and go” meals on Monday at Trousdale County High School. From 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., parents or caregivers can pick up a free lunch for any school-age child in Trousdale County and breakfast for the following morning.

Monday began with 160 meals served and Tuesday saw 204, which Coordinated School Health Supervisor Kathy Atwood deemed a great success.

“It went pretty good. Of course, the first day is always a challenge,” Atwood said. “If you compare to what we do in the summer, it was a big jump from that.”

The school system is hoping word of mouth will help inform the community of the available meals, which can serve up to 250 students per day.

Atwood said after this week, the school system would look at alternative delivery options if needed. The free meals will be offered as long as school remains closed, even through the May 22 scheduled end of the school year if necessary.

Also, the schools’ Backpack Program is working with the Church of the Firstborn to offer food boxes each Saturday to any family in Trousdale County in need. These food boxes are available from 9-11 a.m. each Saturday while schools are closed, whether or not a family has children in school.

Local organizations such as the Hartsville Rotary Club and area churches are helping support that effort, both financially and through helping pack boxes.

“There may be people who are having trouble and if they are, they’re welcome to come on Saturday mornings,” said Atwood, who helps oversee the Backpack Program.

The Backpack Program is funded through donations rather than by the school system itself and the community is urged to help support the program.

Donations can be mailed to: Hartsville Backpack Program, PO Box 175, Hartsville, TN 37074 or sent to the Board of Education office at 103 Lock Six Road.

Any questions can be directed to Atwood at 615-374-0907.

The Community Help Center’s food pantry remains open as well, but clients are subject to income requirements. The pantry is open from noon-3 p.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. Call 615-374-2904 for more information.

Reach Chris Gregory at 615-374-3556 or cgregory@hartsvillevidette.com.

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