LITTLE EGG HARBOR NJ- Extraordinary times hit our community with the COVID19 pandemic, restrictions and response. It changed the lens on how we view the present and the future. While days here are never predictable, it always has familiar routines and friendly faces. TAPinto dropped in on a few neighbors to catch up this week:

Dr. Melissa McCooley- Superintendent Pinelands Regional and Little Egg Harbor School District has so much happening on grounds and off keeping everyone connected during the summer. "Each Monday we start our week by providing food for our families, no questions asked" stated Dr McCooley. With the help of school administration, including Food Services Director, Athletics Director and faculty it's all hands on deck to prepare breakfast and lunch bags for each child in need for the entire week. Cars line up each Monday for 1030am pick up in front of Pinelands Regional High School with families coming from Little Egg Harbor, Tuckerton, Bass River and Eagleswood. As cars roll up, the driver signals through the windows how many children and will get breakfast and lunch. The bags include food for 5 days per child, so families with two children will receive 20 meals per pick up. This includes fresh fruit, breakfast sticks, sandwiches, crackers, milk and more. Cooking and preparation instructions also comes with certain items.  If families are in need of other supplies such as diapers they can contact school to arrange for that to be included in order. This will continue all summer and with additional flexibility based on reopening plans in the fall. 

Gina Frasca - Assistant Superintendent Pinelands School District shares stories of community support when talking about the district. "When a child feels safe and fed, they learn best" remarked Ms. Frasca as we discussed the Legacy Project housed in the Pinelands Regional Junior High School complete with washing machines, dryers and a variety of neatly displayed clothes, shoes, and personal products for all members of the family. The center was opened by teachers Cathy Schaffer, Allison Laurens and Dan Grasso with generous donations. Students drop off their dirty laundry for faculty to return washed and folded. Families also have access to a freezer full of bread and frozen food to take with them, as well as information for assistance and nonprofit programs. 

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John Berenato - Assistant Superintendent Little Egg School Harbor District - The George Mitchell School is going tech and preparing full Steam ahead. "We are Kindergarten through Second Grades, and we are adding dedicated STEAM ( Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) classroom technology" stated Mr Berenato. The school also houses the Preschool program which is also outfitted with new tech Hatch tables and interactive tools. "We have planned out our socially distanced class sizes and are ready to roll with the reopening plan."

Little Egg Harbor and Pinelands Regional School Districts will be holding a school reopening plan Zoom meeting on Thursday, July 30 at 5pm.  Please visit their site for instructions