Freeland schools distribute free, fresh produce to everyone, regardless of residence or school

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FREELAND, Mich. (WLNS) — Freeland Community School District is participating in a new USDA program that provides boxes of fresh produce to area residents for free amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The district’s first USDA Farmers to Families Food Box giveaway, part of the Coronavirus Farm Assistance Program, took place Thursday evening, May 28. It took just two hours for the district to distribute all 700 boxes it had been allocated, running out an hour before the event was scheduled to end, said Superintendent Matthew A. Cairy. He said the district was invited to apply to participate in the program and its application was later accepted. The boxes arrive prepackaged at no cost to the district.

“Next week, we’re doing this again and we’ll have 1,000 boxes,” Cairy said. “They’ve upped our allocation, which is awesome, and we’re hoping to be just as successful.”

School administrators announced the food giveaway, which will continue every Thursday through the month of June, via the Freeland Community School District Facebook page. Boxes are to be distributed using curbside pickup from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday, June 4, 11, 18 and 25, at the metal/wood shop garage adjacent to Freeland Middle School, 8000 Webster Road.

Cairy said the boxes are available, free of charge, to anyone, regardless of whether they live in Freeland or have a child attending Freeland schools.

Cairy said this week’s boxes included celery, carrots, tomatoes, asparagus, potatoes, onions, lettuce and more.

“They just show up in their car and they get a box of produce, or a pack of produce, and it’s really nice,” he said.

In addition to this new food distribution program, the district has been providing free lunches to children, regardless of where they live or attend school, every Monday, Wednesday and Friday since Gov. Gretchen Whitmer ordered K-12 schools to close in response to the pandemic.

“The Monday after schools closed, we started providing lunches to children,” he said. “We’ve given away almost a quarter of a million meals to students.”

Cairy added, “The Freeland Community School District is very pleased to be able to help people in this time and we’re blessed that we’re able to do this, to provide this kind of opportunity for people to be fed.”

This article is adapted from MLive.

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