Hillsborough, Pinellas school districts changing meal distribution schedules, processes

Another week brings another set of changes for two of Tampa Bay's largest school districts, Hillsborough County and Pinellas County, as school leaders take increased measures to make sure food distributions safely get into the right hands amid extended school closures. 

In Hillsborough, new measures are in place to ensure that people can't pick up food from more than one distribution site. 

In a video posted Monday to the district's Facebook page, administrators urge parents to be prepared with student information in order to pick up a week's worth of meals on Wednesdays. If you have children in the school district, you now have to provide your child’s student ID number to staff on site. This is the same number as your student’s lunch number. 

If your child is under school age or in another school system, you must now provide each child’s name, and date of birth in order to receive food. This comes after several of the district's pick-up sites ran out of food last week. 

Administrators blamed the shortage on people stopping at multiple sites and taking extra meals, with some of the distributions even turning up for resale on social media sites. 

"It’s a shame that our community members, a few of our community members, would go to multiple sites, take food away from children and seek to build their financial portfolio on children who did not have the food, will not have food today,” Hillsborough County Schools superintendent Addison Davis said last week.

With the new measures in place to prevent people taking food they don't need, Hillsborough leaders are now warning parents that they may have to wait in line a little longer to get their child's meals. To make the process easier administrators are urging parents to write their child's name and student ID in large print and holding the paper against the window for staff. 

For a list of "Grab-and Go" locations, head over to the Hillsborough County Public School's website.

Meanwhile in Pinellas County, school officials are kicking off weekly meal package distribution for families. 

Pinellas County Schools were initially giving out food three days a week, then twice, and now one day a week under CDC guidelines.

Starting Wednesday, the district will provide families with six days’ worth of meals-- a combination of hot and cold breakfast items, along with hot lunch entrees with easy heating instructions. 

The supplies weigh between 12 and 16 pounds. Parents can drive up to the site and pop their trunks for safe food delivery. The distributions are on Wednesdays from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at 22 school sites. The weekly meal distributions are planned for the remainder of the school year. 

Meal distribution locations can be found on the Pinellas County Public School's website.