Coronavirus report | RCS meal pickup switched to 1 location

It's a new definition of meals on wheels as vehicles stretch east down Wabash Avenue and beyond waiting to pick up meals and school packets Monday morning at J.W. Eater Junior High School.

RANTOUL —The lines were long as people waited in vehicles, some for a couple of hours, to pick up a week's worth of meals and lesson packets Monday at J.W. Eater Junior High School.

The handouts were scheduled from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., but a line of cars continued to stretch east on Wabash Avenue with people waiting to pick up until after 2:30 p.m.

The meals were handed out at J.W. Eater Junior High School. Superintendent Michelle Ramage said handing out at one location is more efficient.

At the same time remote learning packets (three weeks worth) were handed out.

Two staff conferring

Allison Didier, right, special education director, and Yubanna Salinas, clerical worker, discuss lesson packets to be handed out during the drive-thru at J.W. Eater Junior High School Monday.

Early in the process, RCS meals were handed out at Eater and the four elementary schools.

“The problem is when we’re at five sites and each site runs out of food in 20 minutes, then we’re sending people to the junior high anyway,” Ramage said.

RCS has seen the number of meals taken climb.

“We are feeding way more people than anticipated,” she said. “We made 580 (meals last) Monday. That’s the max because we couldn’t store more than that.”

After those meals were taken and there were still people waiting for food, another 140 were prepared and handed out.

For Monday’s handout, 900 were prepared.

RCS was searching for a refrigerated milk truck for storage because they have been feeding more people than originally anticipated. The company that provides milk to RCS furnished the truck.

Students don’t have to be enrolled in RCS schools to get meals. Rantoul Township High School, St. Malachy, Thomasboro and other area students are eligible.

Some parents might prefer the RCS handout because all five days’ meals (breakfast and lunch) are handed out on Mondays. For RTHS meals, they are handed out Monday, Wednesday and Friday with two days’ meals Monday and Wednesday and one day’s meals on Friday.

 dhinton@rantoulpress.com