Education

Kidzpacks program still serving QPS students

Kidzpacks coordinator Jessica Dedert and her son, Alexander, 11, prepare Kidzpacks at Baldwin Elementary School on Tuesday, March 17, 2020. Dedert, whose crew has been trimmed down due to covid-19, estimates 1,000 food packs will be distributed throughout the community for students who normally wouldn't have a meal throughout the weekend. | H-W Photo/Katelyn Metzger
Katelyn Metzger1|
By Herald-Whig
Posted: Mar. 19, 2020 10:20 am Updated: Mar. 19, 2020 4:05 pm

QUINCY — A program focused on making sure some Quincy Public Schools students don't go hungry over the weekend will continue while schools are closed due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Kidzpacks Coordinator Jessica Dedert said the program, serving K-5 students who qualify for free or reduced price lunches, is more important now than ever for families.

"It could be parents are not able to go to work now because their business closed or has different hours. They may be struggling more to provide for their families than they have in the past," Dedert said. "With the fact that kids are now home every day all day, when they're normally at school during the week, we are going to try to put a few extra things in the bags than we normally would."

Bags will be available from 10 a.m. to noon Friday at the Board of Education office, 1416 Maine, and the Kroc Center, 405 Vermont — the drive-by pickup sites for the QPS sack breakfast and lunch program — and will be available on the five QPS buses stopping at 24 locations on Friday to deliver sack breakfasts and lunches.

Dedert said a hand-picked "skeleton crew" worked to pack the bags on Tuesday and Wednesday.

"Normally we do about 955 every week. I'm still planning on doing my normal number, and even out at 1,000, then see," she said. "It's safer to be over-prepared than under-prepared. They will get used eventually."

Instead of using a large number of volunteers to fill bags, Dedert will continue with the skeleton crew to maintain safe social distancing, but donations to the program are welcome.

"I have been getting calls from several individuals, churches and organizations offering to make donations whether monetary or food," she said. "That's wonderful. That will help our budget tremendously."

More information about Kidzpacks is available by calling 630-426-9245, sending an email to kidzpacksquincy@gmail.com and online at facebook.com/kidzpacks.