Maryville City Schools will offer free breakfast and lunch to area students the last week of March and the first week of April.

The school system announced Wednesday it would serve the free meals to students 18 and younger on Tuesdays and Thursdays beginning March 24 and lasting through April 3.

MCS Communications Director Sharon Anglim said if building closures extend because of the coronavirus, that may change. “We will regroup if we have to make another deadline,” she said.

Meals will be offered at four locations and only be available to students who are present at pickup.

Families can either drive through or walk up at each location for breakfast from 10-11 a.m. and lunch from 11 a.m. to noon.

“I really think there’s a huge collaborative effort between the state department and all of the school districts to try to do this,” Anglim said. “My assumption is that many or most other school districts will try to do something similar.”

Maryville schools will join numerous other organizations across the state — including some other school districts — to try to help families deal with food needs during pandemic response closures.

“We’re going to have hungry kids,” said the school’s director of school nutrition, Tammy Hooper. “If it’s a national emergency, it’s also an emergency for us. ... Let’s bring the country together, and what better way to do that than with food, especially in the South.”

Anglim and Hooper said they have seen an overwhelming amount of support from the community in helping students through the next two weeks. Hooper also said Maryville’s School Resource Officer Deb Skyler is open to helping students’ families with other needs as well.

Most districts plan to return to a regular schedule by the first week of April.

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