Meals for needy kids continue despite closed schools

Mar 16, 2020

Timothy Gordon Jr. washes his hands using purell before receiving his grab n' go meal.
Credit James Brown / WXXI News

With city schools closed, recreation centers and a few schools have become a “go to” place to get meals for some of Rochester’s children. Those meals are typically given to Rochester City School students at schools but since an order Saturday, shutting down Monroe County schools, Foodlink, the school district and the City of Rochester are filling the gaps.

About 50 meals were served at Gantt Community R Center on 700 North Street but just before lunchtime it was quiet. The attendants, who waited to give out food, wore face masks and gloves as they sat and waited, turning away adults who didn’t know the center's gym was closed. 

Timothy Gordon and his two sons 13 year-old Timothy Jr and 8 year-old Sebastian were the first to pick up lunch at the center. Gordon said he’s worried about their mom.

“She works in the health field,” said Gordon. “You know it's more dangerous for her. She’s exposed more to more patients coming in. So she gotta take more precautions than anybody.”

Gordon, who works nights at a local steel manufacturer, said he’s lucky that he can take care of the kids during the day. Despite the additional stress he understands why they’re no longer in school.

“Just knowing there’s no cure for it,” said Gordon. “It's just, you gotta be safe, safety is the most important thing.”

Michael Peterson, the lead security guard at the School of the Arts and several students chipped in to help 

Foodlink delivery truck brings meal to Tyshaun Cauldwell R-Center for Hope on Campbell Street.
Credit James Brown / WXXI News

serve between 30 and 40 meals at Tyshaun Cauldwell R Center on Campbell Street before noon.

“We are partnering up with the Rochester City Rec,” said Peterson. “Helping assisting them with their breakfast, lunch, and dinner grab and goes that’s going on throughout the district,”

He said everyone who handles a meal wears masks and gloves and they’re being careful around the food and each other. 

“Anyone coming into the facility,” said Peterson. “They would get squirts of government issued hand sanitizer to their hand, anyone coming in or going out they would do that as well.”

Peterson said they’re prepared to help as long as they can, if they can.

You can find a list of locations where free meals for school aged children here.