The Tuscaloosa City Schools distributed almost 35,000 meals to area children on Monday alone and the program will continue as schools remain shut down during the COVID-19 pandemic.

TCS Superintendent Mike Daria released a video this week saying that the nutrition program gave out 34,902 meals to more than 2,600 students Monday, April 20.

The program is free-of-charge for children under 18, even if they are not TCS students, and to limit risk and exposure, each child is given five lunches and five breakfasts at distribution sites across the city each Monday.

"Meeting the needs of our students is the most important thing we can do as a school system," Daria said. "When this crisis hit, that was one of the most important things we knew we had to get off the ground -- meals for our students."

Daria said the demand for the program while classes are not in session speaks to the "enormous depth" of food insecurity in the Tuscaloosa area, and said these services will continue for the foreseeable future.

"Our child nutrition program staff are absolute heroes in my eyes. They are there on Saturday and Sunday preparing those meals and making sure our students have those meals on Mondays," Daria said. "We're seeing the increase in demand even as we go one week over the next, and we're doing our best to respond to that increase in demand and within our control we're going to respond to that demand and ensure those services remain."

We salute Daria and the entire team at TCS for making sure that Tuscaloosa children do not go hungry just because they can't be in school.

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