Aldergrove’s Shortreed Community Elementary School is serving students – as well as the larger community – free lunches on weekdays. (Shortreed elementary/Special to the Aldergrove Star)

Shortreed Elementary offering free ‘grab-and-go’ lunches to Aldergrove families amid pandemic

COVID-19 has sparked school support workers to ensure every Aldergrove student is nourished

Shortreed Community Elementary is feeding the stomachs of Aldergrove residents strapped for cash during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“When we saw another school in Langley offer free lunches to families we knew we had to do it,” school youth care worker Lindsay Romas said.

Weekdays between 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. the southwest corner of the school is transforming into a socially distant outdoor cafeteria.

The school is seeing an average of 60 to 80 people on weekdays receive nourishment, Romas said.

“We are growing weekly,” she explained, as more and more people learn of the program.

The “grab-and-go” initiative, founded by Romas, is also led by Shortreed special education assistant, Kim Campbell, and Aboriginal support worker, Patsy Elson.

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The trio is painfully aware that without the school-day service, some students might otherwise go hungry.

Langley School District Foundation has recently committed to providing $50 grocery gift cards to more than 600 families in the school district each week with its Food for Thought Program.

RELATED: Many Langley students could go hungry without school food programs during COVID-19

Romas became worried that students from other Aldergrove schools – not just recipients of Breakfast Clubs and Starfish backpacks – might fall through the cracks.

“So we decided to open up the program to the entire community,” Romas told the Aldergrove Star.

Now, everyone in Aldergrove has the opportunity to eat a worry-free meal at 27330 28 Ave.

Shortreed began serving the nutritious lunches a month ago, on April 28.

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The lunch program has inspired the new installation of a free mini grocery store at Parkside Centennial Elementary School, at 3300 270 St.

Aldergrove families have been able shop there Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday of each week.

Langley Sources Food Bank provides food for both of the Aldergrove programs.

Additional contributions to the initiative have come at the hands of private donors and the Langley School District.

RELATED: Parkside Elementary opens free mini grocery store amid COVID-19

People can visit the school’s website for more on the program, including how to get in touch for a donation.

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