Editor’s note: This story has been updated to reflect that the YMCA of Memphis & the Mid-South has taken over meal distribution for Shelby County Schools after an employee in the nutrition department tested positive for the new coronavirus. The distribution sites and times are all the same as the district’s original plan.
When Shelby County Schools announced that it was closing schools through March 30 as a precaution against the new coronavirus, community agencies jumped in to make sure students would not go hungry without school-provided meals.
Collections and food drives have already popped up, with more likely to follow as Memphis schools are closed for more than two weeks. Shelby County Schools had planned to offer takeaway lunches beginning March 23, but the YMCA took over operations after a nutrition services employee tested positive for the new coronavirus. Most of the district’s students live in poverty and depend on the breakfast and lunches served at school.
“School closings mean lack of routine, food, and safety for many children,” reads a Facebook post from after-school ministry Arrow’s Nest.
Though she understands the effort behind stopping the spread of COVID-19, White Station High School student Zoey Brewer said on Twitter that the community must put as much effort into mitigating the effects of school closures.
“If we want to keep SCS students healthy, they must have access to food,” she said.
Below is a running list of Memphis community resources we’ve found. Let us know what you’re hearing by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will continue to update this list.
Community food resources
- Waffle Mania Perez is offering free breakfast for school-aged children 9 to 11 a.m. March 30 to April 3 at 2302 Peres Ave. For more information, call (901) 212-0234 and ask for Lisa.
- The Mid-South Food Bank is assembling 14-day food boxes with nonperishable food for low-income families and other vulnerable populations. Find your nearest food pantry here. Donations can be made online.
- Life Church of Memphis is distributing food at the following times and locations:
- Pre-packed food distribution: 10 a.m. until supplies run out Wednesdays at 255 N. Highland St and 3683 Austin Peay Hwy.
- Drive-through food distribution for a week’s worth of groceries: 10 a.m. until supplies run out Saturdays at 255 N. Highland St and 3683 Austin Peay Hwy.
- Metropolitan Inter-Faith Association (MIFA) does not have a student-focused plan, but will deliver an additional week of meals to all its clients. It is encouraging families applying for emergency assistance to begin that process online, if possible, to limit traffic at its building.
- Green Dot Public Schools is distributing food through the Mid-South Food Bank the week of March 30. Volunteers are also needed. Masks and gloves will be provided. Email Jocquell Rodgers at email@example.com for more information.
- Packing and sorting from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on April 1 for distribution from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on April 2 at Hillcrest High School.
- Packing and sorting from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on April 2 for distribution from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on April 3 at Fairley High School.
- Hope House Memphis is collecting food and cleaning supplies for its clients Friday from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. and Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m.-noon.
- Communities in Schools officials, who are based in schools, said in an email that “we are anticipating this as a need and expect to connect families with community partners to provide food.”
- Arrow’s Nest, an after-school ministry, is collecting snacks and canned goods for children in the program and their families. Contact Carol Unrine at Carolunrine@hotmail.com for locations to drop off.
- Dorothy Day House, a temporary housing for homeless families, will have up to 19 children at the house who normally would get meals at school. Food items such as milk, bread, eggs, lunch meat are being accepted along with monetary donations.
- To receive emergency food from one of the eight Neighborhood Christian Centers, fill out the online application and a staff member will contact you within 24 hours.
- First Congregational Church is handing out lunches and food pantry bags 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at 1000 S. Cooper St.
- OUTMemphis will be distributing food and hygiene kits 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays at 892 S. Cooper St. Please call (901) 278-6422 in advance to secure your pick-up. “While our efforts are dedicated to LGBTQ+ at-risk individuals, no one will be turned away,” said Molly Quinn, the organization’s executive director. Food kits will include nonperishable snacks and a sandwich. Hygiene kits will include travel size toiletries, soap, hand sanitizer, tissues, wet wipes, condoms, and socks.
YMCA meal distribution sites for students
Students can also pick up lesson packets from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. every Monday and Tuesday while schools are closed. Open the address sheet document here.
- Open the map and click the Search button.
- Search for your address to find nearby meal distribution sites. Schedules for breakfast and lunch pickups vary by site.
- Select the meal distribution site and click the Direction button.
- Find the directions to the meal distribution sites on Google Maps.
I don't have Google Drive and Google Maps installed on my device
- Open the map and scroll to your neighborhood.
- Find and select the meal distribution site to view the schedule for breakfast and lunch.
- Tap the direction buttons to go to Google Maps.
I have both Google Drive and Google Maps installed on my device
- Open the map and tap the Search bar.
- Search for your address to find nearby meal distribution sites.
- Tap the name of the meal distribution site to view the schedule for breakfast and lunch. Tap the direction buttons to go to Google Maps.
Editor's Note: This map was last updated 5/20/2020, 1 p.m. CDT.
We're doing our best to keep this resource up to date. Given our limited staff resources, we'll be updating this map about once a day. It's possible meal distribution sites on this map may have closed or moved, and there could be other sites in the area we don't know about yet. We recommend calling ahead or checking local district websites to confirm that a location is still open. If you have information we should know about a site that is or isn't on this map, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Given how fast this story is developing, we will likely change our approach to maintaining this resource as circumstances shift. We'll listen to you in making the decisions, and keep you updated as things change. We are trying to be as transparent as possible as we all navigate these extraordinary times.