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Richland One offering free meals for students this summer

The free summer meal program allows families to pick up a week's worth of food every Monday.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Richland One School District started their free summer meals program on Monday.

Eau Claire High School is one of eight pick-up locations for families. Cars lined up around the block to pick up a week’s worth of food for their kids.

Brianna, a mom utilizing the service told us, “I’m a single parent of two. I don’t really have that much help. So this extra help actually helps me and it keeps me from going to the grocery store.”

Brianna says she’s been receiving free meals for her young daughters since school closed due to COVID-19.

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Tracy Dixon, Nutrition Director of Richland One says, “Since the closure in March, we’ve been serving meals to our families so this is just a continuation of that meal service.”

The free summer meal program allows families to pick up meals every Monday from 11 am to 1 pm.

Brianna says she’s relieved the district is helping families over summer break. “[The kids] are already out of school. So, it’s like, us as single parents and mothers, it’s like dang - what are we going to do for our kids? What are the alternatives? So the food helps.”

Plus, there’s no cap on the number of families Richland One feeds.

“Each bag is enough for one child for seven days. So, if a family has seven kids, then they have seven bags today.” Dixon says, “we’re averaging right now about 60-65,000 meals a day.”

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The meals contain healthy, nutritious items that are kid-friendly.

“They put fruits, vegetables, milk, juice, applesauce, apples, oranges and cereal.” Plus, “they do snacks - the kids love the snacks because I won’t ever buy them.” Brianna says as she laughs.

If you’re a guardian that wants free meals for your child, but you haven’t been verified by Richland One, Dixon says that’s not a problem:

“If their children are enrolled in Richland One, we’re able to verify and in most cases the parents don’t have to bring the children. However, if they’re not able to be verified, say they’re a Richland Two or Lexington student, they may still receive meals however the first visit, the child needs to be in the vehicle.”

According to Richland One, this free summer meals program is set to run through July 30.

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