With some restaurants closed and grocery store trips limited, I appreciate food: the traditional chicken and rice bake, tacos, the pre-Easter ham and even frozen ravioli. It’s been a long time (maybe never) since my family has enjoyed so many home-cooked meals.

Cooking can be comforting. It can also be exhausting and there’s the unending question of what are we going to make next.

In between meals, children and teens snack on who knows what.

When the Milton School District announced grab and go meals for all ages 18 and younger, regardless of free or reduced lunch eligibility, I signed up. 

The people distributing the meals were helpful and friendly, but as I left with the meals, I had a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. I thought of the health crisis, the financial crisis and how both likely would get worse.

I learned that Natalie’s had closed, Café 26 had closed.

Who or what would be next?

I stopped to deliver one meal to the home of a family friend.

When I got home, I opened the bag and spread the food out, of course, so I could take a photo for the Milton Courier. Tomorrow’s breakfast will be zucchini bread, craisins, OJ and milk. Lunch was in a separate bag: an Uncrustable, reduced fat Doritos, a tiny bag of carrots, an apple, a cheese stick and milk.

Seeing the contents, it made me feel that someone cared about my kids. Someone helped me take one worry away. No one hunted for food around the house or complained. Someone had made our day.

In reality, it was not someone but several people. School district employees and others locally, and at the state and federal levels, with titles that have no appreciation day.

I wanted to pay this good deed forward. I thought of the restaurants closing and ordered pizza for myself from a local restaurant.

I thought of foods we might hunger for and not be able to taste. As I ate the pizza, I even closed my eyes for a flavorful escape.

My stomach was full. My heart was full.

How you can sign up for grab-and-go lunches:

All children (18 and younger) may receive free lunch and breakfast. Children do not need to be present. Grab-and-go meals will be available for pick up at multiple Milton schools while supplies last.

Sign up online at www.milton.k12.wi.us to help with the meal planning. Unable to complete the form online? Call district social worker Verlene Orr (608) 868-9561.

While signing up, mention food allergies or special needs. 

Meals may be picked up at the following locations:

  • Harmony Elementary (front parking lot) – 10:30-11 a.m.
  • East Elementary (main entrance lot) – 11:15-11:45 a.m.
  • West Elementary (main entrance lot) – noon-12:30 p.m.
  • Milton High School (near auditorium entrance) 12:45-1:15 p.m.

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