SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - The stay at home order by Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards has led all but a few school districts in northwest Louisiana to halt student ‘grab and go meals,’ citing health risks to school staff members.
That's led to serious concerns about all children getting fed during the school closures.
The reaction is one of disappointment and sadness that some children may likely not get the food they need.
That goes for both the Bossier and Caddo School Districts, where the need for meals is described as great.
In Bossier schools, for example, 43 percent of students are on free and reduced lunch, while in Caddo Schools 72 percent of students live at or near the poverty line.
Both districts announced the 'grab and go' meals were being stopped to protect the health and safety of their school staff and not wanting the virus to spread any faster.
People we met understand the risks, but said ultimately children’s hunger is the larger issue.
That includes Betty Garner of Shreveport.
"When you're slowing it down you never know who you're going to be missing out for not feeding them. So, and hopefully they'll come back up with it pretty soon."
Fellow Shreveport resident Scott Franklin couldn't agree more.
"I don't think they have have stopped it...No. People need to eat. You know, children need to eat."
And a local mother, wanting to be identified only as "Ashley" told us it was tough to hear the news.
"It was saddening because some kids don't have food at home to eat and that was their only way of eating. I think they should have kept it going."
While Caddo Parish did suspend 'grab and go' meals for this week, district leaders also announced they will decide later this week whether to continue meals in the future.
Back in Bossier City, since this was the final feed day at all 14 sites, including Bossier Elementary, they also handed out school packets for all 200 students.
Those packets included everything from their grades and lesson plans to activity ideas and books for kids to read while they're home.
But what a difference a week makes these days. One week ago teachers and staff at Bossier Elementary were encouraged they could still help their students, at the very least to avoid hunger.
Now, many call it heartbreaking that there is just as much need as before but they are now powerless to help as much.
That included first year assistant principal Rachael Stroud.
"Your heart goes out to these kids, especially the ones that are riding up here on their bikes all by themselves every morning. So, when I get here in the morning we'll have kids lined up waiting already, even before it even starts. So, just very sad, very sad."
A spokesperson for Caddo Schools told us they are directing families to the Northwest Louisiana Food Bank for any questions about food and meals going forward.
And in Bossier Schools, the district is working closely with North Point Community Church to assist with student meals.
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