THURMONT, Md (WDVM) — Monday marked the first day of public school closings throughout the four-state area to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.
In Frederick County, Maryland, one restaurant is stepping up to help feed kids who rely on school meals.
Behind the doors of Thurmont’s Kountry Kitchen, staff members have been up since the early morning hours stuffing vegetables, dessert, and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches into hundreds of lunch bags.
“When I’d seen that Frederick County Public Schools were closing, the first that that popped into my mind was ‘Oh no, what are these kids going to do for meals?” explained restaurant owner, Sherry Lee Myers.
On Friday, Maryland Superintendent Dr. Karen B. Salmon’s directed the closure of all Maryland schools Monday, March 16 through Friday, March 27, 2020.
The county public school system announced that 11 public schools would remain open to serve any child under 18 years of age with breakfast and lunch.
But Myers said many of the participating schools surround the City of Frederick area and would be a greater distance for Thurmont families to travel.
Myers says the announcement lead her to wonder if the restaurant could pitch in to feed children in the northern areas of Frederick County.
“I texted my husband and said look, ‘What do you think we should do? Should we step up and say hey this is what we need to do and provide meals for these kids and have them available?’ That’s what we both agreed upon and that’s why we’re here today,” Myers said.
Now any child that walks through the doors will be served a free hot breakfast and a packed lunch meal
Local parent, Laurie Mills, says these meals are one less worry during the coronavirus pandemic.
“I think that’s a really good idea. I really do because a lot of kids, they don’t eat unless they eat in school. They eat breakfast and lunch in school and this is a great idea,” Mills said.
Staff packed nearly 400 bags of lunches, not knowing just how many people will show up. And they’ve done so with the community’s help. They’ve had an outpour of food and monetary donations since posting about the free meals on their Facebook page.
“It takes a village. We all seem to come together and it’s perfect. It just makes the perfect thing,” Myers said.
As restaurants throughout Maryland are set to close Monday evening by order of Governor Larry Hogan, the Kountry Kitchen will continue to provide free carry-out meals to kids.