Nutrition services

CCPS Nutrition Services Extends Summer Food Services Program

Above: A Collier County Public Schools parent tunes in for a free lunch. COURTESY PICTURES

As Collier County Public Schools continues to move forward into the 2020-2021 school year, like many school districts, there has been an abundance of change along the way. From our students and staff wearing protective face coverings, to adhering to social distancing on school campuses, to virtual learning options for our students, the school is simply different in the reality today. One thing that remains familiar to our students is the expansion of the District’s Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) which will continue to provide free meals.

“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to feed more children,” says Elizabeth Alfaro, Director of Nutrition Services at CCPS.

The district remains committed to ensuring its students are well-nourished. With our community still impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the CCPS Nutrition Department is extending the free breakfast and lunch program not only to students who qualify, but to all of our students (18 and under) – that whether they qualify or not. The extension began on September 14 and will continue until Friday, December 18. Free meals will be available every weekday at all elementary, middle and high schools, including Everglades City School and charter schools. Students learning virtually through Classroom Connect or Collier Academy are also eligible to receive free meals.

Right: Signs of appreciation for 1 million meals served.

Right: Signs of appreciation for 1 million meals served.

“Food is a basic need and students cannot learn if they are hungry,” says Ms. Alfaro. “This unprecedented move will allow children to access overly free meals without any barriers.”

For students learning from home, they can pick up their meals via curbside service during the week at the school closest and most convenient for them. Curbside dining will also be available on the next virtual student learning day, October 30, as listed in the 2020-2021 school calendar.

It was March when Ms. Alfaro and two of her colleagues, administrative supervisors Kandy Messenger and Mary Scattergood, quickly devised a meal distribution plan that would provide much-needed meals to CCPS students while campuses remained closed. Little did they know that the nutrition services team would help provide half a million meals until the end of the school year – the millionth meal was served in the middle of summer; and who knows how many more meals will be provided by December 18.



“It’s like we’re making a difference in the community,” says Ms. Alfaro. “We have seen an increase in the number of families applying for meal allowances who have no income due to the pandemic, and for us to be able to provide their children with the food they need is truly rewarding. .”

Parents can always pick up the meals without their child being present. They just need to provide their child’s ID, such as a student badge, birth certificate, social security card, or any document that proves the parent/guardian’s identity and relationship to the child. . Meal distribution times for the SFSP can be found on the district website at ¦