MERIDEN – Meriden Public Schools and Fire Department Local 1148 are teaming up to host the annual Back to School Expo as well as weekend meals on August 6 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Jessica Schellhas, dietitian for Meriden Public Schools, said the event will take place at John Barry Elementary School, Lincoln Middle School and Maloney High School.
Schellhas is thrilled with the partnership and meals this weekend as they will include summer items.
“It will be a special and fun lunch bag for the weekend,” Schellhas said. “We will actually be sending home a barbecue in a bagged meal kit. So there will be fun barbecues in there.
Firefighters will be present in the three schools to distribute 700 backpacks filled with school supplies.
Schellhas said a child must be present to receive a backpack, but meals can be picked up by a child or a parent.
“We love our community and we love nurturing our community, especially during such a crazy year, but we’re especially happy to have this partnership with Local 1148 Firefighters,” Schellhas said.
Meriden Public Schools provided breakfast and lunch for children throughout the pandemic, both on school days and on weekends.
On August 20, each child will be able to receive 23 meals in a bid to “bridge the gap between the end of summer and the start of school”.
Schellhas said the plan was to distribute 4,500 meal bags that day.
She said the meals that are given daily are not limited to Meriden children. Residents of other municipalities will also be fed.
According to Schellhas, due to the city’s large Latin American population, most meal distribution sites have had and will continue to have a Spanish-speaking staff member to communicate with parents and answer questions about the program. .
The Meriden Department of Health and Human Services and the Community Health Center have also partnered to offer two vaccination clinics where students ages 12 and up can go home with a backpack full of school supplies.
The first clinic will be held August 5 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Lincoln Middle School. The second clinic will take place on August 7 from 4-8 p.m. at the Meriden Green Pop-Up Market. A hundred backpacks will be given every day to students who will be vaccinated on site.
Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson vaccines will be offered without an appointment requirement. Second dose appointments will also be scheduled on site.
Lea Crown, director of health and social services, said the backpack was an incentive to encourage students to get vaccinated.
She explained that among the eligible population of Meriden, 59.78% received at least a first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Regarding children aged 12 to 15, 48.25% received at least the first dose.
The lower percentage among the younger population is because the vaccine hasn’t been available for as long as it has been for other age groups, Crown said.
She pointed out that the clinics on August 5 and 7 are particularly important because they will allow students to be fully vaccinated before the start of the school year.
“We hope that as many people as possible can get vaccinated before school starts,” Crown said.