Students in Grand Island Public School’s Virtual School will be able to have meals delivered to their home free of charge through DoorDash thanks to a partnership between the GIPS Families in Transition program and the Heartland United Way.
Holly Boeselager, GIPS Families in Transition coordinator, said both the meals and the DoorDash delivery is offered free of charge. She said this is provided free of charge through GIPS’ Food for Thought program — a donation-based program that works to address food insecurities with GIPS students.
Boeselager said the meals were delivered Wednesday last week since there was no school on Friday, but typically the meals will be delivered on Fridays. They will be delivered for the next 15 weeks.
“I have an Excel spreadsheet that is viewed by the DoorDash and the company can see that. Then they give it to the DoorDash person,” she said. “Our volunteers typically pick up the bags by 9:30 a.m. and then they can be delivered shortly after that,” she said. “DoorDash typically picks up the bags by 9:30 a.m. at Intra House (across the street from Grand Island Senior High on Lafayette Avenue) and then they have the bags delivered to each family no later than noon on that given day.”
Boeselager said the food bags always will include a box of cereal to last students the weekend, cans of fruits and vegetables and a snack for each day. She added the main dish in the bags will vary each week.
“Sometimes, that is a box of Hamburger Helper, spaghetti and pasta sauce or macaroni and cheese,” Boeselager said. “That can be made in bulk and eaten.”
Elizabeth Troyer-Miller, Heartland Disaster Outreach coordinator for Heartland United Way, said the DoorDash program originated from the United Way in Lincoln. She said it contacted all of the partner United Ways to see if they knew of any organizations that could utilize the DoorDash delivery service.
Troyer-Miller said she knew the work GIPS Families in Transition was doing to address food insecurity among students and decided to partner with them.
“One of the things that we have seen an increase in during this whole COVID pandemic is a need for food,” she said. “Food insecurity is real in our community and surrounding areas. This is just one way we can make sure kids have what they need. It is just one little step in a giant wheel of meeting needs. It just seemed like a natural fit for us.”
Boeselager said currently there are 10 Virtual Schools families who are getting meals delivered via DoorDash. However, she said she is hoping to grow this number since the program just started last week.
“Since they (students) are not at a physical (school) location, they are not able to get the same opportunities for the food as usual,” Boeselager said. “With them being virtual, and with us not always knowing what is going on at home and what their food situation is like, getting them that food is important.”
Any Virtual School family who is interested in having a meal delivered to them free of charge via DoorDash is urged to contact the Virtual School social workers or their building principal, or email Boeselager at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“If families are having trouble getting food due to COVID-related issues, or if they just don’t have the means to make it over the weekend, they should contact us so that we can get them on the list,” Boeselager said.
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