ATLANTA — Thousands of kids in Georgia are out of school and missing the meals they depend on during those hours.
Metro Atlanta school districts were left to determine how to provide food for students who depend on the free and reduced lunch program to get fed during the school outage created by the coronavirus pandemic.
School buses are still running across the Marietta City School System, but instead of picking up kids, they're dropping off lunches.
Families from Marietta City Schools walked and drove up to the 81 drop-off points the district is running while schools are closed.
"It's almost like a movie, it's surreal. Everything shutting down from schools to jobs," said one mom.
She is home from work with her three kids, and only lives two blocks from one drop-off location.
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"It's really helpful, I am really appreciative of them doing this for our children, because it really helps," she said.
Monday was the first day that the Marietta City Schools enacted their school lunch drop-off program.
They have 81 drop-off sites throughout the school district. Bus drivers and school volunteers are delivering food to every child who wants it, not just kids in the free lunch program.
On Monday, there were not many families who showed up.
"The ladies where I am, I'm going to make sure I reiterate to let them know, even during the day, if they just want a little snack, it really helps," she said.
"Because it's the first day, we are just getting accustomed to the kids coming out. Some of them don't know what's going on yet, so we believe as the week progresses we will see many more people coming out because the word will pass along," said bus driver Anthony Blackwell.
He teamed up with principal Tricia Patterson to hand out the pre-made meals of juice, milk, sandwiches, and chips.
"It's amazing, the signup for volunteers went out and within three minutes, it was totally filled up, everyone wants to do their part," said Patterson.
Atlanta, Fulton, DeKalb, Clayton, Douglas, Henry, Gwinnett, Rome, and Fayette school districts are all having students pick up lunch at schools throughout their individual areas.
Rockdale and Buford County school districts are doing a similar bus drop-off program as is taking place in Marietta.
"The kids' feedback is the best, because they're smiling. Kids don't always explain with their words what they're feeling, but the adults are very thankful, and the smile on the kids faces is all we need," she said.
The Marietta City School District plans to run all 81 routes each day schools are closed, no matter how long that lasts.
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