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Lunch ladies spread joy to students picking up hot meals during closures

Makenna Long and other nutrition assistants in the Central Kitsap School District are dancing to music as families pick up hot meals for students during the coronavirus outbreak. (Photo courtesy of Makenna Long)

With schools closed down, some “lunch ladies” in the Central Kitsap School District are spreading joy while making sure kids still have hot meals during the coronavirus pandemic.

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For the last few weeks, Makenna Long and other nutrition assistants have been filling paper bags with breakfast and lunch, handing them out to families that drive up to the CK Middle/High School campus.

They have upbeat music blaring while they run and dance the lunch bags out to the cars.

“The kids are smiling, they love the music, but you know their parents are struggling,” Long said. “Seeing the look of relief on their face, even for that moment, makes us happy.”

When they first started, they were making 230 bags of food a day. Now, they’re making over 300. They fill them with a breakfast item, white and chocolate milk, juice, vegetables, fruit, and a hot entree. Each bag gives a child that day’s lunch and breakfast for the next morning.

“We are a military community,” Long said. “There are so many families that were already stretched thin before the pandemic.”

Long said one person drove up and said he didn’t have gas money to come back the next day to pick up food. In extreme circumstances, they will deliver the lunches if necessary.

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“No one should go hungry,” she said.

The lunch program is open to anyone in the community under the age of 18. You have to sign up online at ckschools.org to pre-order your meal so they can make sure they have enough food to give out.

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