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Bridgeport Schools food distribution increasing

BRIDGEPORT — The numbers are growing for students participating in Bridgeport Exempted Village School’s ongoing food distribution program, and officials are continuing to spread the word.

The district has provided free, pre–packaged breakfast and lunch meals since schools closed in March due to the COVID–19 pandemic, and leaders are encouraging parents and guardians to sign up kids to receive a week’s worth of meals each Monday.

District Food Service Coordinator Donna Burlenski said they should contact either the high school or elementary school each Friday at 740–635–0853 and leave a message with the number of students and their grade levels so food could be prepared for pick–up the following week.

Items are available between 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. in a designated area at the rear of the school building and school employees will bring the food to the vehicles.

Burlenski noted there has been a significant decrease since distribution first began on March 19.

“We fed 113 (on March 30), which is pretty good since lunches during school are normally anywhere from 375–390,” she said. “When we began on the first day, we had 25 and then it went up to 38. We’ve been doing it every Monday and give five breakfasts and five lunches. Our school resource officer has the list of students and the principals and administrators take the meals to the cars. Our whole administration has been coming in and helping me pack.”

Food had been distributed on Mondays and Thursdays before the schedule was streamlined to Mondays only.

Students now receive five breakfasts consisting of cereal or cereal bars, fruit, milk and juice plus five lunches featuring a main dish, fruit, vegetable and milk.

Burlenski said all of the items meet nutritional mandates but kids received a special treat during the kickoff when DeFelice Bros. Pizza of Martins Ferry generously provided 100 pepperoni rolls for the program. She was appreciative of the help and said Bridgeport will continue the program to feed its students for the duration of the quarantine.

“We feel this is something we have to do. Right now, our school is taking care of our kids,” she concluded.

She reminded parents to call ahead on Fridays and said the public was being informed via district social media and all–calls.

For more information, contact the schools at 740–635–0853 or go online to www.bridgeportschools.net or @bpt–bulldogs on Twitter.

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