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Dozens of NWI schools offer free meals amid COVID-19 shutdown
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Dozens of NWI schools offer free meals amid COVID-19 shutdown


As nearly all of Indiana's K-12 students are being directed to stay home this month to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, dozens of Northwest Indiana schools are offering free food services for families in need.

Most school programs, especially those receiving funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, are setting firm guidelines for food pickup to maintain government and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-recommended practices for social distancing.

Programs vary by each participating school. Some will distribute meal packages for an entire week on one day. Others are providing daily pickup opportunities through "grab-and-go" and "drive-thru" style models, limiting the public's access to closed school buildings.

UPDATE: All public schools in Lake, Porter and LaPorte counties closed amid coronavirus concern
State agency offering resources for families seeking child care during school closures

Both breakfast and lunch meals are provided in most settings. Most schools are serving only students ages 18 and under, who must be present at the time of food delivery or pickup. So far, food service directors say the programs have been in high demand.

The Crown Point Community School Corp. began food distribution this week and will continue to do so, offering "grab-and-go" lunches for free-and-reduced qualified students in four locations through April 9 with a pause for the district's March 23 to 27 spring break.

In the School City of Hammond, food service employees served more than 16,800 meals in its distribution this week, Hammond director of food and nutrition Christine Clarahan said, running out of meals during its last day of distribution. In comparison. the district served more than 41,600 total breakfast and lunches over its 36-day summer lunch program.

The school city resumes distribution in six locations next week despite being on spring break with plans to serve multiple meals, breakfast and lunch included, on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays through the duration of the district's closure. 

Portage Township Schools ran out of meals after its first Monday delivery service this week, handing out 4,000 meals. The Portage district has scheduled continued delivery dates on March 30 and April 6 at Portage High School West.

The Gary Community School Corp. distributed 5,000 meal packages Monday at seven different locations. More details on future Gary schools food distribution are forthcoming, spokeswoman Chelsea Whittington said.

Most programs are setting tentative delivery dates, should school closures be extended further into the spring. Be sure to check in directly with your desired school district for any program qualifications or changes.

Did we miss a school distribution center? Email to let us know of an ongoing school food service program.

Here's a look at upcoming food distribution sites in Northwest Indiana schools:

Aquinas Catholic Community School

Meal distribution available to Aquinas families only

8 to 11 a.m. Mondays and Wednesdays through end of school year

Aquinas Catholic Community School, 801 W. 73rd Ave., Merrillville

More info:


Crown Point Community School Corp.

Breakfast and lunch available to free and reduced lunch qualified students.

10 a.m. to noon, March 16 to 20, March 30 to April 9

Crown Point High School, Jerry Ross Elementary School, MacArthur Elementary School, Timothy Ball Elementary School

More info:


Duneland School Corp.

Curbside meal pickup for Duneland School students. Lunch for current day and next morning's breakfast provided daily.

Additional breakfast and lunch provided in Thursday distribution for Friday meals.

11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday through school closure

Chesterton High School, follow signs to meal pickup area

More info:


Gary Community School Corp.

Buses will distribute lunches in 45-minute increments to two dozen locations across the city for children 18 and under

10 a.m. to 1 p.m., March 30, April 6, April 14

A complete list of distribution locations and visit times can be found at


Griffith First Christian Church

Sack lunches in a grab-and-go, drive-up style.

11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Monday through Friday through April 10

Griffith First Christian Church, 202 W. Pine St. 

More info:


Griffith Public Schools

Grab-and-go meals for children 18 and younger

11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, March 17-20

Griffith Middle/High School, drive up to Door C, meals will be delivered to car

More info:


Hanover Community School Corp.

Drive-up sack lunches available for each student in car.

8 a.m. to noon, March 18

Hanover Central High School, Door E, drive up via far west entrance.

More info:


Lake Station Community Schools

Grab-and-go meals including a lunch and breakfast

11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Monday through Friday through April 9, excluding spring break March 23 to 27

Edison Jr./Sr. High School at Door A near tennis courts

More info:


Merrillville Community School Corp.

Breakfast and lunch distribution will take place at listed school entrances and from buses at park and church locations. Students must be present.

On Mondays, meals will be distributed for three days and on Thursdays meals will be provided for two days.

11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Monday and Thursday, March 17 to April 9, except spring break March 30 to April 9 and Good Friday

Fieler Elementary, Iddings Elementary, Merrillville High School, Merrillville Intermediate School, Miller Elementary, Pierce Middle School, Rethink Church, Salk Elementary, Stefek Park, Wirtes Park, Wood Elementary

More info:


Michigan City Area Schools

Grab-and-go breakfasts and lunches available to students for five days on Mondays.

4 to 6 p.m. Mondays, including spring break, through extent of school closures

Barker Middle School, Krueger Middle School, Elston Building, Knapp Elementary School

More info: 


Portage Township Schools

One week's worth of meals available each Monday of school closure, excluding spring break

11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., March 30 and April 6

Portage High School West, Door F, meals delivered to vehicle door

More info: 


River Forest Community School Corp.

Five grab-and-go meals, including breakfast and lunch, will be offered to any children under 18 years old.

9 a.m. to 1 p.m., 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. March 18

River Forest Middle/High School, Door D, Curbside pick-up, children must be in vehicle

More info:


School City of East Chicago

Daily grab-and-go brunch pick-up

10 a.m. to noon, Monday through Friday beginning March 18 to 27

East Chicago Central High School, Block Middle School, Harrison Elementary, Lincoln Elementary, McKinley Elementary

More info:; or contact Sodexo Magic general manager Earnest C. Lilly Jr. at 219-391-4084


School City of Hammond

Curbside meal pick-up at participating schools for any child 18 and under. Two meals, including breakfast and lunch, provided on Mondays and Wednesday with one meals, including breakfast and lunch, on Fridays beginning March 23.

10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays through each week of school closure

Edison Elementary, Franklin Elementary, Harding Elementary, Irving Elementary, Maywood Elementary, Morton Elementary

More info:


School City of Hobart

Five grab-and-go meals available to children ages 18 and under.

3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Wednesdays, through April.

Hobart Middle School, Liberty Elementary, Early Learning Center, Ridge View Elementary and Hobart High School.

More info:


School City of Whiting

A week's worth of breakfast and lunches provided each Monday for the number of children in each family.

8 a.m. to noon, Mondays, March 23 to April 6

Whiting Middle/High School, Door 6

More info:


School Town of Highland

Five breakfast and lunch meals every Monday. Students must be present to receive meals.

11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Mondays, March 23 to April 6

Johnston and Southridge elementary schools

More info:


Tri-Creek School Corp.

Grab-and-go lunch and breakfast item available daily to Tri-Creek students 18 and under

11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, March 17 to 20, March 30 to April 10

Lowell High School, Three Creeks Elementary

More info:


Union Township School Corp.

Grab-and-go meals available for all Union Township children 18 and under.

Two days of breakfast and lunch meals provided on Tuesdays. Three days of breakfast and lunch meals provided on Thursday.

11 a.m. to noon Tuesdays and Thursdays, March 30 for duration of school closure; additional one-time distribution 11 a.m. to noon March 29 

Wheeler High School, Grand Hall entrance

 More info:


Valparaiso Community Schools

Free grab-and-go breakfast and lunches distributed once a week to all kids 18 and under.

Students must be present to receive meals and will receive 10 "take and bake" meals each week, including five breakfasts and five lunches.

11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Fridays

At the parking lot between Thomas Jefferson Middle School and Thomas Jefferson Elementary School

More info:


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