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Brandon Mahon, a Cove parent, receives free meals Monday morning for his children from Jeanne Ralph, an instruction assistant with the Cove School District.

LA GRANDE — The term meals on wheels often is associated with seniors but now takes on additional meaning for Union County School Districts during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Schools statewide remain closed under orders from Gov. Kate Brown to help fight the coronavirus epidemic. All public school districts in Union County are providing free breakfasts and lunches to students beginning this week and some are delivering them. The Cove School District is using two school buses to get lunches and breakfasts to students living along the district’s bus routes.

Meals are provided to all Cove students coming to the bus stop they use when traveling to school. Deliveries start at 7 a.m.

“We want to support them and help them stay connected,” said Jeanne Ralph, a Cove School District instructional assistant helping deliver meals.

Brittany Hersom, also a Cove School District instructional assistant, noted everyone delivering meals could have declined the opportunity to but she would not think of it.

“We are all here to serve children and this is serving children. We are all happy to do it,” Hersom said.

The meals not only help children, she said, but also lend a hand to their parents.

“It relieves them of the responsibility of having to prepare meals,” Hersom said.

The Cove School District also is delivering free breakfasts and lunches to all adults in the school districts on weekdays at least through April 28, the last day of the state’s announced school closure. Meals are being delivered to at least 45 adults each weekday, many of whom are seniors.

“The school district belongs to the community and we serve our community,” said Cove School District Superintendent Earl Pettit.

The meal service the Cove School District is providing includes a pick-up service. Cove students not on bus routes because they live too close to ride the bus, can pick up free breakfasts and lunches outside their school district’s new cafeteria each weekday between 7 and 9 a.m These meals will be available to everyone 18 and under.

The meal program for Cove students is being provided via the Seamless Summer Option program, one which all Union County school districts are also using to provide meals to those age 18 and under. The school districts arranged to provide the program at their schools after Brown encouraged school districts to provide lunches for students during the closure. All school districts using the Seamless Summer Option will be reimbursed by the government for the lunches they provide.

Here are the other meal services school districts are providing in Union County:

•La Grande School District is providing meals to anyone age 18 or under from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Central, Greenwood and Island City elementary schools each weekday through April 28. The meals must be picked up at the schools and can not be eaten there. The school district also will be delivering meals to students whose families can not make it to either of the three grade schools.

Information on meal delivery is available on the school district’s website, or by calling the district or any of its schools, which will be staffed during the shutdown.

•The Elgin School District will provide meals from 9 a.m. to noon, Monday through Friday for pickup outside Stella Mayfield School to anyone age 18 or under. The school district also is delivering breakfasts and lunches to the homes of students whose families request them, beginning at 9 a.m. each weekday.

•The Imbler School District will provide lunches and breakfasts for students starting Wednesday available at 8 a.m. Meals for pickup will be at the school district’s grade school and at the Summerville City Hall. However, beginning Monday, April 6, lunches and breakfasts will be provided daily at 11 a.m. at the same sites.

Families who want lunches and breakfasts for their children can contact Imbler schools food service manager Tanya Corta at and text her at 208-402-3575.

•The North Powder School District is providing breakfasts and lunches for students this week from 11 a.m. to noon each weekday through Thursday at its cafeteria. Starting Monday, April 6, meals will be provided each Monday and Wednesday from 11 a.m. to noon at the cafeteria. Students will receive two lunches and breakfasts on these days.

•The Union School District is offering its free lunches and breakfasts for students, Monday through Thursday. The meals are available from noon to 12:30 p.m. at the S.E, Miller gym at Union Elementary School. Families who will be picking up lunches and breakfasts are encouraged to notify the school district at 541-562-6115.

General assignment reporter

Beats include the communities of North Powder, Imbler, Island City and Union, education, Union County veterans programs and local history. Dick joined The Observer in 1983, first working as a sports and outdoors reporter.

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