For more information call the district office at 646-4566, and select the meal program option.

Area youth who had previously signed up for the free meals program through the Chillicothe R-II School District are now receiving a third meal.

Dr. Zach McMains, assistant superintendent for the Chillicothe R-II School District, said that through a partnership with the Grand River Area YMCA, a third meal is now being given to area youth.

“Starting Friday when students meals are either delivered or picked up, there will be a third meal, dinner, provided to them as well,” McMains said.

The district, through a federal grant, has been able to provide free breakfast and lunches for anyone under the age of 18 living in Chillicothe. McMains said the program has grown and now includes over 500 area children.

“The program has grown quite a bit,” he said noting that Wednesday’s meal pick-up and delivery will now include more than 1500 meals, counting breakfast lunch and dinner.

There are 236 separate families receiving the meals, of them 124 are on the delivery route and the other 112 pick-up the meals at either Chillicothe Middle School or Field Elementary school.

McMains said the partnership with the YMCA, spearheaded by Mike Pope, started when Pope asked how their organization could help the district.

The YMCA works to prepare the backpack program providing certain students with backpack meals, now and throughout the school year.

The YMCA secured funding sources for the dinner meals, which are prepared at Chillicothe Elementary School the taken to the middle schools and placed in with the breakfast and lunches, for delivery.

“The community of volunteers, which includes school staff, support staff, local residents, have really made this possible,” McMains said. “Their hard work and dedication is what really took and idea and made it happen, and makes it happen.”

Plans are underway to continue with the meal program through June 30.

Pick-up and drop-offs now happen on Mondays and Wednesdays, and McMains expected that pattern to continue. Today, April 29, staff and volunteers will have more than 1500 meals ready for area youth.

The food distribution schedule is as follows: today meals for April 29-May 1; May 4, meals for May 4-5; May 6, meals for May 6-8; May 11, meals for May 11-12; May 13, meals for May 13-15; May 18, meals for May 18-19.

For more information call the district office at 646-4566, and select the meal program option.

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