Skip to contents
Downtown

Here’s How To Get Free Meals For Your Child While CPS Is Closed

You do not need to go to your child's school; you can go to any CPS school to pick up the food.

DNAinfo Chicago
  • Credibility:

CHICAGO — All schools in Chicago will be closed starting Tuesday.

Gov. JB Pritzker announced Friday he’d close all Illinois schools — including Chicago’s — in a bid to stop the spread of coronavirus. They’ll be closed until at least March 30, though that could be extended if needed.

While closed, CPS will do a deep clean of all its facilities. But no staff or students will be allowed into the buildings, and students will have to stay home or go to a child care provider.

Officials have asked businesses and neighbors to help parents out as much as possible by letting parents work from home or by offering to help them with child care.

RELATED: Stressed About Coronavirus? Mental Health Experts Share Tips On Keeping Calm — And Not Scaring Your Kids

But there’s currently no comprehensive program to ensure parents are able to get child care for their children while the closures go on.

Hoping to help, CPS will distribute free meals for children, and the Chicago Park District is offering programming for a limited number of children.

Here’s where you can get help:

Free Meals

CPS will give out free meals every day for any child in need during the closures — whether the child goes to a public school or not.

The meals will be available 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Monday-Friday at pickup spots outside every school. You do not need to go to your child’s school; you can go to any CPS school to pick up the food.

The kits will include up to three days’ worth of breakfast and lunch for every child in a household.

Education

There will be no daily lessons by teachers, but students can use packets created by their teachers for online and offline educational activities.

Students who went to class Monday received the packets. Parents can also download them online.

Where Your Child Can Go

The Park District will have 18 locations open with free, age-appropriate programs for kids while schools are closed. Parents can register their kids onsite or online, which is preferred. Children are encouraged to bring their own lunch and snacks.

Only 250 children will be able to participate at each location to prevent the spread of COVID-19, according to the Park District.

Click here for more information.

Here are the parks:

  • Avalon Park, 1215 E. 83rd St.
  • Columbus Park, 500 S. Central Ave.
  • Eckhart Park, 1330 W. Chicago Ave.
  • Fosco Park, 1312 S. Racine Ave.
  • Gage Park, 2411 W. 55th St.
  • Gill Park, 825 W. Sheridan Road
  • Jackson Park, 6401 S. Stony Island Ave.
  • Kennicott Park, 4434 S. Lark Park Ave.
  • Kosciuszko Park, 2732 N. Avers Ave.
  • Margate Park, 4921 N. Marine Drive
  • McKinley Park, 2210 W. Pershing Road
  • Norwood Park, 5801 N. Natoma Ave.
  • Piotrowski Park, 4247 W. 31st St.
  • Ridge Park, 1817 W. 96th St.
  • Sauganash Park, 5861 N. Kostner Ave.
  • Warren Park, 6601 N. Western Ave.
  • West Lawn Park, 4233 W. 65th St.
  • West Pullman Park, 401 W. 123rd St.

Chicago Public Library branches also remain open during the closure, but it has canceled programming.

Remember, here’s what not to do:

  • Do not send your child to school, Jackson emphasized. They will be closed.
  • Officials advised against sending your child to a relative who is elderly or has a compromised immune system, since they are those most at risk from coronavirus.
    “Grandma’s house is probably not the best place to send your children to,” said Dr. Allison Arwady, head of the Chicago Department of Public Health.
  • Officials are also advising everyone stay away from large groups and practice social distancing.

More Help

Those with questions or concerns can contact CPS by calling 773-553-5437 or by emailing familyservices@cps.edu.

Block Club Chicago’s coronavirus coverage is free for all readers. Block Club is an independent, 501(c)(3), journalist-run newsroom.

Subscribe to Block Club Chicago. Every dime we make funds reporting from Chicago’s neighborhoods.

Already subscribe? Click here to support Block Club with a tax-deductible donation.