Thanksgiving is coming early for some Harrisburg School District families.
On Wednesday, the district distributed over 200 Thanksgiving meals to 50 district families that are experiencing homelessness or displacement.
“We have had an increasing need for food in the school district,” said Marianne Peters, director of student services. “Food insecurity is a real concern.”
The district serves around 500 displaced and homeless families, according to Peters.
She added that, during the COVID-19 pandemic, more families have faced difficulties including homelessness and food insecurity.
The meals were donated by Capital BlueCross and Capital BlueCross Connect.
“We are very engaged with the community,” said Juan Maldonado, senior outreach coordinator for the CHIP program at Capital BlueCross. “We are very conscious about giving back to the community.”
Thanksgiving meals include turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, vegetables and pumpkin pie. District administrators, counselors and social workers are delivering the meals.
Families were chosen by school counselors to receive meals based on their need.
Throughout the pandemic, the school district has been providing meals for families. Since August, they have offered breakfast, lunch and dinner grab-and-go meals two days a week for students and parents.
They have also expanded the program to include all schools as pick-up locations to increase access for families, said public relations coordinator Kirsten Keys. She is worried that, as the weather continues to get colder, it will be harder for families to make it to the meal pick-ups.
This Thanksgiving meal distribution is one way the district hopes to make things easier for families during a challenging time.
“It really warms my heart,” Peters said.
For more information about the Harrisburg School District, visit www.hbgsd.k12.pa.us/.
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