Region schools feeding children during social distance breaks

Region schools feeding children during social distance breaks
By: Beth Ireland Last Updated: March 16, 2020

Staff and volunteers greeted community members with smiles at the food pick-up location in La Porte this morning.

Area schools might be closed for the next several weeks, but students won’t go hungry if the community and school districts can help it. Local authorities and parents, among others, are praising school districts for stepping up, caring for their own and continuing to offer free meals to students in need.

“Thank you to the school city for your efforts in keeping our students safe and healthy,” said Mayor Anthony Copeland, Mayor of East Chicago. 

From local churches to nonprofits to city governments, all are ready to step up and help their youth.

“The City of Portage stands ready to assist our partners in local government and the school district any way we can,” said Sue Lynch, Mayor of Portage.

We’ve compiled a list of as many local schools offering free meals for you as we could find. If you are unsure on whether your school is offering free meals, reach out to them today.

Lake County

Hobart - Any student 18 years or younger can receive a free lunch from the School City of Hobart. Pickup will take place at the Hobart Middle School parking lot from 11:00 a.m., and 2:00 pm. The free lunch program will run Monday through Friday from March 17 to April 9. For more information call 219-942-8885.

Hammond - The School City of Hammond is offering free breakfast and lunches for anyone under the age of 18. Meals can be picked up at several locations from 11:30 a.m. - 12:30 pm, Monday through Friday, March 16 to April 13. The full list of locations as well as additional information is available here:

East Chicago - The School City of East Chicago is offering free breakfast and lunch to students at Block Jr. High School and East Chicago Central High School. Breakfast will be available from 8:00 - 9:00 am starting March 17 and lunch will be available from 11a.m. - 1:00 p.m. starting March 16. More locations are opening and you can find updates here:

Gary - By partnering with local churches and organizations, the Gary Community School Corporation is offering both breakfast and lunch at various locations. You can find the full list of information at their website:

Lowell - The Tri-Creek School Corporation is offering free grab and go lunches that will also contain breakfast items for students under the age of 18. The lunches can be picked up from Lowell High School between 11:a.m. - 1:00 p.m., March 17 - 20 and March 30 - April 10. You can contact the Tri-Creek School Corporation at 219-696-666.

Crown Point: Breakfast and lunch can be picked by qualified free/reduced lunch students March 16 – 20 and March 30 – April 9 from 10 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. at any of these school locations: Crown Point High School, Jerry Ross Elementary School, MacArthur Elementary School, or Timothy Ball Elementary School.

Merrillville - Merrillville Community Schools will be offering free meals to students from March 17 to April 9 (except for during spring break and Good Friday). Pickup will be available at several churches and parks throughout the community. From March 16 to March 20, parents can pickup meals on Tuesday and Thursday between the hours of 11:30 am and 1:30 am. After March 20, meal pickups will take place every day from Monday through Friday. For a full list of pickup locations, visit:

Porter County

Portage - The Portage Township School Corporation is offering both breakfast and lunch for any student under 18. The meals can be picked up at Portage High School - West building between 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., March 16 - 20. Any questions can be directed to the PTS Administration Building at (219)762-6511 or email us at

Valparaiso - The Valparaiso Community Schools are offering free breakfast and lunch for students under the age of 18. Meals can be picked up at Thomas Jefferson Middle School (TJMS), Monday through Friday between 11 am and 12:30 pm March 17 through April 10.

Families who cannot get to meal distribution at TJMS are encouraged to reach out to our Director of Social Emotional Learning Erin Hawkins to make other arrangements. She can be reached at or (219)531-3070 ext. 5306.  

The meal pick up procedure is as follows: Use the south parking lot between TJMS and Thomas Jefferson Elementary at 1600 Roosevelt Road, Valparaiso, IN 46383. Children must be present to receive the meals. Parents and children must remain in the vehicle. Staff will distribute two meals per child drive-through style.

More information on the meals and other school news can be found on the VCS website.

Chesterton - Sack lunches will be available at the Chesterton Middle School Monday through Friday from March 16 to April 10. Hours of pick up are 11 a.m. to 12 pm. More information can be found on the Duneland School Corporation’s website:

La Porte County

The Center Township Trustees Office has compiled a comprehensive list of food pantries, school meal giveaway times and locations, and other resources. For the most up-to-date information, visit:

Michigan City - Taken from the Michigan City Area School’s FaceBook post: A weekly supply of food will be available for each child. This food will include items for breakfast and lunch. An adult must pick up food packets. Food will be available for grab and go pick up at Barker, Krueger, Elston, and Knapp from 7-9 a.m., and from 4-6 p.m.on the following dates (you may go to any location):

Wednesday, March 18 (for 3 days worth of food)
Monday, March 23 (for 5 days of food)
Monday, March 30 (for 5 days of food)
A meal plan will not be offered during Spring Break, April 6 - 10. More information and updates can be found here: