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Agencies providing food amid virus outbreak

While many services like schools and senior centers close because of the coronavirus, many on the frontline are still working to make sure people in our community do not go hungry.

Senior citizens centers are closed across Kentucky this week, but the Generations Center in Winchester was still delivering meals to its elderly homebound clients Monday as well as to many of those who usually come in to eat.

“Some of those people depend on that lunch,” Dianna Sims, executive director of the center at 32 Meadow St., said Monday.

Having to deliver to those clients as well has increased volunteers’ workloads, but “it’s working out OK,” Sims said.

Clark County Community Services, 30 Taylor Ave., was also seeing an increased need for food. Debbie Fatkin, who directs the program, said about a fourth of those who showed up at the agency to get boxes of food were people she and volunteers hadn’t seen all year.

“It shows there are people living paycheck to paycheck, and this is having an effect on them,” she said. “I will say this about the families — if they don’t need the help, they don’t come.”

Many, she said, are almost in “panic mode” right now.

Clark County Public Schools is providing lunch for students who are out of school because of the sometimes deadly respiratory infection, and the senior center is feeding the elderly, but there are other people who aren’t working and must be fed.

“We have to remain open just because so many people depend on us,” Fatkin said.

Food services workers at Shearer Elementary School said they saw more than twice as many students as they were expecting picking up free school lunches Monday afternoon.

By 1 p.m. they had served about 110 students.

“We had expected about 50 meals to be distributed,” food services employee Peggy Profitt said.

Free meals are available to any child 18 or younger and to those with disabilities who are 21 and younger as long as they are still students, Darlene Larry, cafeteria manager at Shearer, said.

Students will be off school because of the virus outbreak through March 27 and then for spring break from March 30 to April 2. As of now, students are expected to return to school April 6.

Meals are picked up through a drive-through system.

Larry said students who pick up meals will be given that day’s lunch and the following day’s breakfast. Meal pickup will continue throughout the closure.

Students must be present to receive their meals.

Meals can be picked from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the front of Campbell Junior High School, 620 Boone Ave.; at the back of Clark County Preschool, 30 Beckner St.; at the front of George Rogers Clark High School, 2745 Boonesboro Road; at the front of Justice Elementary School, 350 Mount Sterling Road; and at the back of Shearer Elementary School, 244 E. Broadway St.

Beginning March 18, there will be mobile routes at the following times and locations:

— 11 to 11:15 a.m. at Tyler Banks Housing on First Street

— 11 to 11:15 a.m. at Calvary Christian Church Mount Carmel Campus, 3455 Wades Mill Road

— 11:25 to 11:40 a.m. at Quick Shop Mobile Home Park at the corner of Kiwi and Market drives

— 11:30 to 11:45 a.m. at Apple Ridge Subdivision, 533 Acadia Way

— 11:45 a.m. to noon at Summit Apartments, 260 Oxford Drive

— 12:15 to 12:30 p.m. at Fox’s General Store, 11220 Irvine Road

— 12:15 to 12:30 p.m. at Yorktown Apartments, 500 Constitution Drive.

Kent Coogle, Family Resource Center coordinator at Shearer, said his school has been collaborating with three local churches that support the backpack meal program at the school to get those items distributed to families this week as well.

For updates about the schools’ distribution, visit the district’s website at clarkschools.net.