BELMAR, NJ — For all Belmar and Lake Como children, grab-and-go lunch and now breakfast are available at Belmar Elementary School while the school is closed and home instruction is under way.

From 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Monday through Friday, the free packaged meals can be picked up by children — age 18 and under, regardless of whether they attend BES — in front of the school. This includes Manasquan High School students who live in Belmar and Lake Como, to make pickup easier for them.

For lunch, students have the choice of a “deli of the day” sandwich or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and they also get a fresh vegetables, fresh fruit and milk — provided by Simplified Culinary Services, the school’s food vendor.

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And at the same time they pick up their lunches, children can get breakfast for the next morning — a choice of a bagel or cereal served with fresh fruit, and choice of milk and juice.

Throughout the first week of home instruction, a growing number of children have been coming each day to the school to pick up the meals, with some 100 served by Thursday, March 19, according to school officials. And for BES students, they have been welcomed by several familiar faces, including teacher Wendy Callahan and cafeteria supervisor Bill Chalmers (aka “Mr. Bill” to them) and staffer Dawn D’Angelica.

BES received funding through the state Department of Agriculture’s Seamless Summer Option (SSO) program to provide the lunches during the school's closing, according to Belmar School Business Administrator Michael Bardsley. Gov. Phil Murphy closed all schools in New Jersey effective today, March 18, as a way to stop the spread of the coronavirus in the state. 

SSO is one of the many federal school nutrition programs that ensure nationally balanced meals are offered each day to children age 18.

While BES students had off from school on Monday, March 16, they officially began home instruction on Tuesday, March 17, which at this point will last through Friday, March 27.

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