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Grab and Go lunch program feeding thousands of kids

Apr 09, 2020 12:32PM ● By Carolyn Henwood

Cafeteria workers at North Belmont Elementary prepare bananas for Grab and Go lunch bags. From left Helen Dillon, Robin Carver, Kathy Leviner. Photo by Alan Hodge

By Alan Hodge

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Get ready to digest an incredible number. In just a little over two weeks (March 17-30) the Gaston County Schools Grab and Go free breakfast and lunch program gave out over 73,000 bagged meals to students stuck at home during this Coronavirus event- and the meals will be still be handed out until the students return (hopefully) on May 15.

Currently, Grab and Go meals are available at 20 locations countywide (see list below).

North Belmont Elementary is one of the busiest Grab and Go pick up points. 

“We are giving out over 800 meals a day,” said North Belmont Elementary cafeteria manager Peggy Banner.

In addition to her regular staff, Banner is getting help making and handing out the meals from cafeteria workers brought in from Belmont Middle, Pinewood Elementary, and Catawba Heights Elementary schools.

Getting the meals ready is a logistical challenge that’s being met. The meal components of  sandwiches, fruit, juice boxes, cereal, and milk comes from the main school nutritional headquarters in Lowell. The food bags are assembled at the school distribution sites.

To get the meals, folks simply drive up to the pickup spot. At North Belmont, it’s the sidewalk near the front door. When a car approaches, staff hands the bag over.

It’s obvious everyone taking advantage of the Grab and Go program is glad it’s there.

“People have been very friendly, grateful, and nice,” Banner said. “The  response has been great and we are glad to provide this service to the community.”

North Belmont principal Justin Bean agreed.

“It is a wonderful opportunity for our children who need a nutritious and balanced breakfast and lunch,” he said.

Here are some more details on the Grab and Go program - Meals are being distributed at the following 20 locations:

Ashbrook High School, 2222 South New Hope Road, Gastonia

H.H. Beam Elementary School, 200 Davis Park Road, Gastonia

Bessemer City High School, 119 Yellow Jacket Lane, Bessemer City

Brookside Elementary School, 1925 Auten Road, Gastonia

Carr Elementary School, 307 South Pine Street, Dallas

Chapel Grove Elementary School, 5201 Lewis Road, Gastonia

Cherryville Elementary School, 700 East Academy Street, Cherryville

Erwin Community Center, 913 North Pryor Street, Gastonia

Grier Middle School, 1622 East Garrison Boulevard, Gastonia

Holbrook Middle School, 418 South Church Street, Lowell

Hunter Huss High School, 1518 Edgefield Avenue, Gastonia

Kiser Elementary School, 311 East College Street, Stanley

Mount Holly Middle School, 124 South Hawthorne Street, Mount Holly

North Belmont Elementary School, 210 School Street, Belmont

Robinson Elementary School, 3122 Union Road, Gastonia

T. Jeffers Community Center, 121 Hartman Street, Gastonia

Tabernacle Baptist Church, 519 West 19th Avenue, Gastonia

Tryon Elementary School, 2620 Tryon Courthouse Road, Bessemer City

Warlick Academy, 1316 Spencer Mountain Road, Gastonia

Woodhill Elementary School, 1027 Woodhill Drive, Gastonia 

At each location, distribution will take place  from 10:30 a.m. until 12:00 noon:

How does the program work?

When you arrive at the meal pickup location that is most convenient for you, look for the school bus in the front parking lot.

Go to the school bus and ask for a meal.  The meal will be packaged in a bag.

he meal will be provided to children (age 18 and younger) free-of-charge.

You should plan to take the meal with you – there is not a place to eat on-site.

You may pick up a meal at any of the locations, regardless of where you live or attend school.

The child does not have to be in the car.

Neighbors can pick up meals for the student.

If you have a question about our “grab and go” meal program, call (704) 836-9110.