RSU 73 bus driver Dale Quirrion, left, puts a box of meals in the back of a car for Audrey Smiley of Livermore Falls at Mallard Mart in Livermore Falls on Thursday. Donna M. Perry/Sun Journal

Shirley McNear, an RSU 73 food service worker, left, hands Keely Corliss of Livermore Falls prepackaged meals for schoolchildren Thursday. The bus was parked at Mallard Mart on Route 133 in Livermore Falls, which is a designated distribution site. Donna M. Perry/Sun Journal

Christina Joclin of Livermore Falls holds the hand of her 5-year-old son, Patrick, after picking up prepackaged meals provided by RSU 73 on Thursday. Schools are closed until at least April 27 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Donna M. Perry/Sun Journal

LIVERMORE FALLS — A Regional School Unit 73 bus driver and two food service workers waited in a school bus at Mallard Mart on Route 133 for people to pick up meals for schoolchildren Thursday morning.

It didn’t take long for cars to pull in just after 11 a.m. It’s one of nine sites in the district where healthy packaged breakfasts and lunches can be picked up.

Other sites are in Jay and Livermore. Times and places are listed in a letter on the main page of the district’s website rsu73.org.

Audrey Smiley of Livermore Falls picked up several meals for the families she knows. Bus driver Dale Quirrion and food service employee Shirley McNear put the boxes of meals in her car.

Food service worker Stacey Bamford stayed on the bus getting the packages ready.

Smiley has three children, two in high school, and she sometimes has her three godchildren over, she said.

On Monday, RSU 73 schoolchildren start learning at home due to school closures as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Educational packets and/or laptops were given out earlier this week.

The families are very appreciative, McNear said.

Keely Corliss of Livermore Falls stepped to the door of the bus and McNear handed her meals.

As Corliss stepped away from the bus, Christina Joclin, also of Livermore Falls, held the hand of her 5-year-old son, Patrick, who came with her to pick up meals.

As of about 11:20 a.m. 78 meals had been picked up, Quirrion said.

Twenty-two were distributed at the parking lot at St. Rose Parish Hall and 28 at Meadowbrook Road site, earlier in the morning.

A total 397 meal packages were given out Wednesday, he said.

It was the largest number picked up in a day since the meals started going out March 17, according to figures provided by Superintendent Scott Albert. On Thursday, 294 meal packages were given out.

Since the beginning 2,384 meal packages have been picked up in the district.

Staff are putting together the meals, but there are also staff volunteers ready to back them up because “we could be doing this for awhile,” Albert said.

“We have had some staff volunteer help with getting it out to people,” he said.

The federal government will reimburse the school district for the service.

“We are feeding them under the Summer Feeding Program, which allows us to have different sites for feeding,” Albert said.


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