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In this statewide project, journalists explore the high costs of the pandemic for children and young adults. The project is supported in part by the Hammer Family Charitable Foundation and the Education Writers Association.

Class of COVID-19: During The Pandemic, Keys Schools Find New Solutions To An Old Problem: Student Hunger

It's long been true that some students who attend Monroe County schools struggle with not having enough food to eat, and COVID-19 has made the situation worse. Educators say the pandemic also has led to new solutions for student hunger.

KEY WEST — When the bell rang at the end of a recent Thursday at Horace O'Bryant School, Lamesha Portier was stationed with a cart in the courtyard. It was laden with bags containing cereal, milk and juice — plus, that night's dinner: tacos with rice and beans.

Heading into weekends, the bags are even bigger.

"Friday bags, we put about four or five breakfasts and then, like, three lunches and suppers, and milk and juice," she said.

It's long been true that some students who attend Monroe County schools struggle with not having enough food to eat, and COVID-19 has made the situation worse. Educators say the pandemic also has led to new solutions for student hunger.

When schools first closed last spring to slow the spread of the coronavirus, the district began delivering meals to families along the school bus route. Now, in addition to providing breakfast and lunch to students, schools are sending kids home with food, to get them through weekends and holidays.

Find the rest of the story here.

This story is part of the Florida Public Media series, "Class of COVID-19: An Education Crisis For Florida's Vulnerable Students." Find the whole project — and sign up for our limited-run newsletter — at classofcovid.org.

“Class of COVID-19” is being produced through a partnership with the following public media organizations: WLRN (Miami), WGCU (Fort Myers), WFSU (Tallahassee), WUSF (Tampa), WMFE (Orlando) , WUCF (Orlando), WPBT/WXEL (Miami/Boynton Beach), WJCT (Jacksonville), WEDU (Tampa) and WUWF (Pensacola).

The project is supported in part by the Hammer Family Charitable Foundation and the Education Writers Association.

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