KALAMAZOO, Mich. — Late Thursday night, Governor Gretchen Whitmer declared that all schools in the state will be closed for the next three weeks to combat the spread of the coronavirus and COVID-19.
Friday morning, community officials gathered to put a plan in place to make sure all Kalamazoo Public School students are fed during that time.
“The community is coming together in a very awesome way,” said Kalamazoo County Commissioner Stephanie Moore during an interview with FOX 17. “I think it’s an example of Kalamazoo Strong, to make sure that we take care of each other during this pandemic.”
Moore said the group decided that KPS kids will receive breakfast and lunch meals everyday and that they’ll be driven to their neighborhoods.
“They’ll be able to walk as far as it would take them to get to the bus stop to access these meals and take them home,” she added. “They will not have to consume them on-site.”
Moore said a plan like theirs was 'extremely important' because many kids rely on the school district for food security. Many of the students come from low-income homes and are on free or reduced lunch.
“We’re also providing a way, or a mechanism, for people to sign up to volunteer to help pack these lunches, to help to distribute these lunches and these breakfasts," she said. "And to be able to do so in a very safe and sanitary and very efficient way to get these foods to the people that need it the most."
She said that the United Way is also creating a link where people can sign up to volunteer and donate money. Meals on Wheels will continue to deliver foods to people who are sick and shut-in. And, meals will also be provided for seniors and people with physical challenges.
Moore added that all volunteers will be sanitized -- washing their hands thoroughly -- and no matter where they go they’ll be educating others on how to protect themselves and remain healthy during the pandemic.
“We have to support our neighbors and share the information,” Moore said. “When you know what’s going on, when you know how to prevent the spread of this virus, you got to help other people understand it as well.”