Nations Ford Elementary School teacher Sharon Pearson hands out food to a student while schools were closed during the spring to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. A CMS spokesperson said the district distributed over 2 million meals to students in the spring. Photo courtesy of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools announced its “CMS Eats at Home” initiative as families prepare for schools reopening remotely in efforts to reduce the spread of the coronavirus.

During the first two weeks of school, Aug. 17 to Aug. 31, the district is offering one free breakfast and lunch meal to CMS students at 40 grab-and-go meal sites during weekdays. School sites will be open from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Beginning Sept. 1, families can receive meal bundles for five days of breakfast and lunch. Bundles are free for students who qualify for free or reduced lunch, otherwise, bundles are $15. Forty percent of the district’s 150,000 enrolled students qualified for free or reduced lunch last school year, the Charlotte Observer reported.

How to receive meal bundles

Families must preorder meal bundles through their PayPAMS accounts by Aug. 18 for delivery or Aug. 26 for pickup.

Students will be grouped and assigned a weekday for meal bundle delivery and pickup. Families can pick up meal bundles at school sites across the district from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. As an alternative, school transportation employees will deliver meal bundles to designated bus stops.

Students don’t have to be present, but their name and ID number must be provided to receive the bundle. Click the map below to see the full list of pickup locations.


Superintendent Earnest Winston says the meal program allows the district “to keep more employees working while we are in a period of all remote instruction.”

School board members voted last month to reopen schools with students attending in-person orientation days during the first two weeks of school before transitioning to remote learning. Two weeks later, board members scrapped their decision during an emergency meeting and moved forward with reopening schools fully remote.

School officials say the program will last as long as schools remain closed to students. If students physically return to school buildings, those enrolled in the district’s Full Remote Academy will still have access to the CMS Eats at Home program, but a district spokesperson said families may have to pick up their meals from a school location.

For more information, call 980-343-6041 or visit the “CMS Eats at Home” page on CMS’ website.

Katrina covers Charlotte's Black business scene for QCity Metro. She's a Miami transplant, pescatarian and lover of the arts. She earned a public relations degree from the University of Florida. Got a...

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