With the announcement of schools closing across the country, one of the biggest concerns, especially of educators like myself, is how will some of these kids eat? A lot of students rely on free and reduced lunches during the year, and during the summer there are often summer food programs. Even students who do not usually need or qualify for free and reduced lunch might be facing hardships if their families cannot go to work. Our school also has a food pantry that provides food to students over the weekend that they now won’t have access to. What happens in this emergency shut down of schools? Luckily those calls are being answered to provide food assistance in the Quad Cities.
The federal government and states are granting waivers for school districts to provide some kind of grab and go type meals for students who need food assistance. Check on your local district’s websites to find out their plans as they are developed in the next couple of days.
The Riverbend Food Bank has an extensive list of pantries all around the Quad Cities, including in NorthPark and SouthPark malls. If you are able, consider making a cash donation to the pantry, as it is likely they are going to see an increase in need in the coming weeks. They are able to purchase more with cash donations; on their website it says that $1=5 meals.
The restaurant industry will be hurting over the next few weeks, especially as dining in at restaurants is banned, but some businesses are still doing what they can to provide food assistance for kids. The following businesses are providing kids meals for free to help ensure that all kids can eat:
McAlister’s in Moline and Davenport is offering a free sack lunch that contains a turkey and cheese sandwich, chips, applesauce, and a cookie. It is completely free (no other purchase is necessary) 11am – 1pm Monday through Friday and limited to four per guest. They “encourage anyone who needs a sack lunch to call their local McAlister’s Deli and press 3 at the prompt.”
Chief’s in Silvis is offering free kids meals to East Moline and Silvis students 11 AM – 1 PM Monday through Friday from March 16th – March 30th. Their page says to “Please call Chiefs to place your To-Go order with our staff and present proof of school ID or adult present with documentation.”
In Davenport, every child can receive a free lunch that contains a turkey sandwich, chips, and applesauce. It is free with no purchase necessary. Just ask for a manager from 11-2. ( It is limited to 150 lunches per day.)
Please share any other restaurants that are offering food assistance or free meals and we will update this page. Let’s also show our local small business restaurants some love by ordering take-out or delivery- which is still allowed in Illinois at this time. There is a hashtag trending currently for #carryoutWednesday to get a pickup or delivery order from a restaurant on Wednesday, March 18. Or, purchase a gift card to use later. Let’s help small businesses however we can.
If you need help providing for your furry family members, East Moline Feed and Pet Supply is offering a free 4 lb. bag of dog food for the next few weeks, as well as samples of cat food.
If you need to get to food assistance locations, the Rock Island, Bettendorf and Davenport bus systems are waiving their fares to help people get to the places they need to go. You can find more information here.
We all need to do what we can to support each other during this time. You may have seen friends share a viral post that says they will help friends with a box of cereal or pb&j, no questions asked. If you are struggling, don’t be embarrassed to reach out. It will be tough for a lot of people in the coming weeks and months. Let’s help each other.