Officials from Monroe County, the city of Rochester and the City School District are releasing more details about how they will help children and families cope with the impact of COVID-19.
Specifically, one of the biggest concerns has been what to do about all the low-income kids who depend on the city school district for nutrition, since all Monroe County schools and a number of schools in other counties will be closed as of Monday.
Mayor Lovely Warren was joined at the Sunday morning news conference by several officials, including Monroe County Executive Adam Bello, Rochester City School District Superintendent Terry Dade, Deputy County Executive Corinda Crossdale, Health Commissioner Dr. Michael Mendoza and Julia Tedesco, Foodlink president and CEO.
It was announced that starting Monday, March 16, nine city R-Centers will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Friday, to provide meals to the city’s school-age children.
These centers will serve grab-and-go meals throughout the day during the school closures prompted by the response to COVID-19. The city will be providing these services in conjunction with the Rochester City School District and Foodlink. The operations closely mirror the food services that R-Centers provide during the summer school break.
“The city of Rochester is ready to step up and provide for our children and families,” said Warren. “Our R-Centers already serve thousands of kids every month. Now they will provide three meals per day just as they do every year during summer break.”
The following R-Centers will serve pre-packaged breakfast, lunch and dinner meals: Adams Street, 85 Adams St.; Ave D, 200 Ave. D; Carter St., 500 Carter St.; Tyshaun Cauldwell, 524 Campbell St.; Frederick Douglass, 990 South Ave.; Flint Street, 271 Flint St.; David Gantt, 700 North St.; Trenton and Pamela Jackson (Clinton-Baden), 485 N. Clinton Ave.; Thomas Ryan, 530 Webster Ave.
The following RCSD schools will provide grab-and-go meals between 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Monday through Friday:
East Upper & Lower School, 1801 E. Main St.; Dr. Freddy Thomas Campus, 625 Scio St.; the former Jefferson High School, 1 Edgerton Pk.; James Monroe High School, 164 Alexander St.; John Williams School No. 5, 555 Plymouth Ave.; Wilson Foundation Academy, 200 Genesee St., School #42, 3330 Lake Ave. School sites will be open 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. providing pack-and-go breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Staff from closed R-Centers will be re-assigned to the operating R-Centers to assist with the influx of children. In addition, enhanced cleaning protocols at the sites will be in operation for the duration of the program.
In addition, families needing assistance regarding food, shelter or other non-medical services are encouraged to call Lifeline at 211.
Mendoza again emphasized the importance of good hygiene and social distancing, and asked restaurant and bar owners to evaluate whether they can close down.
He said that in additional to the two confirmed COVID-19 cases locally, there are test results pending for at least six individuals.
Tedesco said that the United Way of Greater Rochester will help coordinate local volunteer efforts during the virus pandemic with a special website.
Monroe County continues to provide updated information at www.monroecounty.gov.
Crossdale said if area residents have trouble paying for food, you can apply for SNAP benefits online. She also said there will be daycare applications available for getting help paying for services, online as well.
Tedesco said that Foodlink expects to serve more than 20,000 additional meals this week. That agency will expand emergency food service in the coming weeks.
A number of the officials at the news conference on Sunday asked local residents to check in on their relatives, friends, and neighbors who need help during this crisis.
Dade said that the school district has been preparing for this school closure for a while now. He also said that RCSD is continuing to work on making sure that mental health and other services can continue even while school is closed.