Food distribution at Philomath bus
School district employee Cynthia Zerby, right, and Mid Columbia bus driver Allen Cook handle food distribution duties Tuesday at the site located on 26th Street in the First Baptist Church parking lot. (Photo by Brad Fuqua/Philomath News)

The free breakfast and lunch program in the Philomath School District will remain in place through the end of the academic year, Superintendent of Schools Susan Halliday announced.

It’s likely that more families than ever are experiencing tougher times as this COVID-19 pandemic wears on and keeps a good number of folks out of work. But one of the cool things about the free breakfast and lunch program is that the only requirement to pick up some food is to be age 18 or younger.

“The news that we can extend that out to our families and students through the end of the school year is absolutely incredible to make sure children in our community are getting breakfast and lunch to be able to support them in these times,” Halliday told the school board during its Nov. 16 meeting.

Prior to the extension, the food program had been scheduled to expire at the end of December.

Meals are available from 11:45 a.m.-1 p.m. at Clemens Primary School and from 11:45 a.m.-12:15 p.m. at three sites where families can connect with school buses — Pioneer Street between Seventh and Eighth streets, on 26th Street in the First Baptist Church parking lot and at Blodgett School.

Halliday said the breakfast and lunch program has seen an increase in numbers. Clemens Primary draws the most people and among the bus distributions, the Pioneer Street and Blodgett sites are well-used.

“We’re seeing those as a big benefit for those that can’t make it in to be able to get the meals directly from the school,” Halliday said.

To be able to distribute the food, Halliday said lunch and recess personnel obtained food handler’s licenses.

Officials encourage folks to pre-order food online, which helps them plan a little bit better. Click here to go to the food services website, which includes a link to the Philomath pre-order form. Within the form, you’ll also be able to see what food items are being served on what days.


The Kings Valley Charter School is also providing free breakfasts and lunches and appears to be having great success. Diana Barnhart, who has a few job titles out there at the charter school — including culinary arts instructor and kitchen manager — seems to have a pretty good system in place with meal boxes that go out to families.

“It’s been a challenge. We’ve had to be creative and I have a team of three other people that work with me, including our bus driver,” Barnhart said.

The school uses the same busing system for getting schoolwork to and from students.

Kings Valley has over 140 students that are served with some being outlying Philomath students that live in the vicinity. The meal boxes on Fridays include enough food for the weekend.

“Our kitchen staff are working hard every day to get those meals out on the bus and get them to different communities and that’s been a great success,” KVCS Executive Director Jamon Ellingson said. “We’re getting great feedback from families for that program.”

(Daily Scoop is a blog published by the Philomath News. This blog often contains news items but also could include opinions of Brad Fuqua, publisher/editor).