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Hillsborough County Schools starts 'meal tracker' after parents attempted to sell food online

Posted at 3:03 PM, Apr 22, 2020

TAMPA, Fla. -- New rules are starting at grab-and-go meal distribution sites across Hillsborough County. The announcement comes after school officials say people took more than they needed and attempted to sell it online.

“We had some individuals that made undesired behaviors last week but we stand ready, with new organizational controls,” said Addison Davis, Hillsborough County Superintendent. “Hats off to the operation an IT department for helping us with this process.”

Pictures of the food online were sent to district officials. The price tag on the side of the post says $0 but officials say you must “make an offer” to get through to the seller.

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The district says several of their sites ran out of food last week and some reported several cars coming through in an attempt to get more food when they already had food from the district in their trunk.

“Perhaps they truly didn’t know that we really could only take one child,” said Shani Hall, the Director of the Student Nutrition Services for Hillsborough County Schools.

Either way, once Davis was made aware, he decided to change the way things are done.

“For every parent that’s coming tomorrow to get that weeks worth of food, you gotta make sure that, if you are a student within our organization, you give us the students name and the students number and will capture that information,” he said.

If they are not a student in the county, you’ll need to provide the child’s name and date of birth.

“It’s pretty sad when they’re taking food out of childrens' mouths, whether it’s for the young kids or teenagers. It’s sad that people do that,” said Amy Newhouse, a single mother who live sin Tampa. “For parents to be able to come and get food for their kids, it helps. There’s a lot of kids at home and do not have food at all.”

Kelly Matysik has kids in the district too and says if someone if willing to do this, they should face the consequences.

“I think it’s terrible. I think if you have extra food that you don’t need or can’t use you should give it away,” she said. “if you’re going to be trying to profit off of the state you get caught and you should be penalized for it.”

The meal tracker starts Wednesday and the district says it will take a little extra time so parents should prepare for that.