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Grab and go locations open to feed kids in the Tampa Bay area

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Posted at 5:25 PM, Mar 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-23 18:32:45-04

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Volunteers around the Tampa Bay area are making sure kids are getting meals while at home with school canceled because of Coronavirus.

“Here you go ma’am,” one volunteer said to Tahani Takrouri as she handed her a box of food.

Takrouri’s kids are certainly keeping her busy and the eating never stops.

“Never!” she said laughing. “I have seven.”

She is one of many moms and dads finding themselves in a big predicament as COVID-19 has virtually put most things on an indefinite hold.

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“The school closures affected the kids that typically rely on the lunches and breakfast when school is open,” said Caitlyn Peakcock, the Executive Director of Tampa Bay Network to End Hunger.

It’s why so many groups are stepping up to feed not only the kids but their families too. Tampa Bay Network to End Hunger is doing grab and go meals plus delivery services for families that qualify.

“A week's worth of frozen food, lunches and breakfast and we’re also providing the family a banana box of about 40 pounds of shelf-stable groceries including meal ingredients,” said Peacock.

Volunteers say they are honored to help.

“It makes you feel good, a little humanity doesn’t hurt anybody.”

Tampa Bay area school districts are offering grab and go meals too. Dozens of locations are set up around Pinellas county, and Hillsborough county.

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“If we’re going to ask her children to continue to grow intellectually and continue to have great assignments,” said Addison Davis, the Superintendent for Hillsborough County Schools. “We wanna make sure they have the necessary tools and nutritional options to be intellectually sharp.”

"HART is offering students who don’t have a ride to a distribution location a free trip on one of its buses. They must have a school ID with them to get on. HART sent a statement about its measures amid concerns from bus drivers:

HART is operating a regular full service schedule to ensure that we have enhanced frequency to afford our patrons the opportunity to sit with appropriate distance.

HART is working to minimize service disruptions to customers while maintaining an environment that is safe for our employees and customers.

The fixed route vehicles are equipped with safety shields providing a natural barrier."

District leaders say you should use personal vehicles if you can to keep up with social distancing.

CLICK HERE for a full list of grab and go locations across the Tampa Bay area.

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