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Here's where kids, families can get free meals in Southern Illinois while schools are closed
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Here's where kids, families can get free meals in Southern Illinois while schools are closed

Food to-go

Volunteers Susan Davis (left) and Bess Shannon assist Jamie Baize pack up meals for her family at the Herrin House of Hope on Monday, March 16. The facility switched its meal service to take-out only in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Across Southern Illinois, schools, churches, food pantries and area restaurants are teaming up to make sure people have access to meals as schools and places of employment are shuttered in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19.

The Southern will update this list as we learn about additional resources. If you'd like to tell us about a resource we're missing, email

Jackson County:

Grab-and-go meals for school-age children are available at the following locations:

Carbondale District 95

7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

  • Thomas Elementary School
  • Carbondale Middle School

Carbondale Community High School District 165

7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

  • CCHS cafeteria

Note: Students are directed to enter the CCHS cafeteria through the external doors and exit in an efficient manner.

Murphysboro CUSD 186

The school is offering numerous pickup locations; times vary by location:

11 a.m. to 12 p.m.

  • Murphysboro Middle School - Cafeteria Entrance
  • Bocce Ball Court (near Riverside Park)
  • Longfellow Park

11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

  • United Methodist Church

12 p.m. to 1 p.m.

  • Murphysboro Youth and Rec Center

9 a.m. to 11 a.m. (for breakfast and lunch meals)

  • Murphysboro Food Pantry

11 a.m.

  • Gorham Fire Department
  • Pomona Town Hall

11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

  • The district will be using two white activity buses to deliver food during this two-hour window at the following routes:
    • North 7th, 8th and 9th Streets
    • Bridgewood, Valley Ridge
    • New Horizons
    • New Hill, Old Brick Road
    • Mobile Ranch
    • Hoffman Road
    • Former Public Aid office area just north of Hardee's

Note: Anyone who sees the bus is welcome to come to the bus and pick up a meal, the district said. To suggest other drop-off locations, call the district office at 684-3781 and plans will be adjusted as necessary based on need.

Unity Point CCSD 140

11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Grab-and-go lunches are available at the school. 

11 a.m. 

Staff is also available to deliver some meals to homes where students live. To arrange for delivery, email or call the school at 618-529-4151.

Boys and Girls Clubs of Southern Illinois: 

Meals are available at the following times at the organization's main location for members: 

  • 12 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. (lunch) 
  • 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. (dinner)  

Good Samaritan Ministries

The Carbondale-based soup kitchen is open for three meals a day. Anyone is welcome, and all meals are offered to-go only at this time.  

  • 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. (breakfast)
  • 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. (lunch)
  • 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. (dinner)

McAlister's Deli

Children can receive a free sack lunch with turkey and cheese sandwich, chips, applesauce and a cookie, Monday through Friday. 

  • 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. (no purchase necessary)
  • 5 p.m. to close (kids eat free when their parents dine in) 

Williamson County:

Marion Unit 2 School District:

11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Grab-and-go lunches are available at the following nine locations:

  • City Hall Municipal Building, Creal Springs
  • Jefferson Elementary School, Marion
  • Lincoln Elementary School, Marion
  • Longfellow Elementary School, Marion
  • Washington Elementary School, Marion
  • Marion Junior High School
  • Marion High School
  • Boyton Street Community Center, Marion
  • Freewill Baptist Church, Pittsburg

Herrin CUSD 4

10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

Staff will deliver grab-and-go meals from school buses in parking lots at the following nine locations:

  • Freeman Spur City Hall
  • Colp City Hall/Community Center
  • Hurst Community Center
  • Fifth Street Housing Community Center, Herrin
  • North Side Primary Center, Herrin
  • Herrin Junior High School
  • Harvest Time Worship Center, Herrin
  • Herrin Civic Center, west parking lot
  • First Baptist Church, Energy

Carterville CUSD 5

The school district is offering grab-and-go meals at the following times and pick-up points. 

11:30 a.m. to 11:55 p.m. 

  • Carterville James Street Park
  • Hocbrier

11:45 a.m. to 12:10 p.m. 

  • Intersection of Peach Lane/Spillway Road

12 p.m. to 12:25 p.m. 

  • Cambria Park
  • Carterville Jr. High Parking Lot (North) 

12:30 to 12:55 p.m. 

  • Mac/Weld Parking Lot
  • Paradise Acres Bus Stop
  • Crainville Baptist Church Parking Lot 

For family meals:

Herrin House of Hope 

11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Herrin House of Hope is moving its hot meal service to a take-out platform but will continue serving families. In-house dining is discontinued until further notice.

JC Manna Mission in Johnston City

10:30 to 12:30

Any school-age child can receive a brown bag lunch while supplies last. Proof of residency required. 

Franklin County:

Frankfort Community Unit School District

Look for a yellow school bus at the following times and locations; all district students are eligible for a "grab-and-go" breakfast/lunch sack, Monday through Friday, while school is closed. 

11 a.m. to 12 p.m. 

  • Frankfort Intermediate School
  • Frankfort Community High School (East Side)
  • Denning Elementary School (North Side) 
  • West Frankfort Park Aquatic Center Parking Lot
  • Antioch United Methodist Church Parking Lot (Illinois 149 at 3013 Antioch Road east of West Frankfort)
  • St. Mark's Episcopal Church South Parking Lot (212 North Ida Street at West St. Louis Street)
  • Orient: American Legion Post 1961 (parking lot)
  • Pershing: At the corner of Pershing Road and Country Club Road 

Jack Russell Fish Co. in Benton

11 a.m. to 1: 30 p.m.

Free to-go grilled cheese and fries for all school age children for two weeks. Place an order by calling 439-FISH.

Subway in Sesser

10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. 

Free to-go mini turkey sub and a bag of chips. No purchase necessary.

Johnson County:

11 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

  • Buncombe Grade School
  • West Vienna Senior Center
  • Vienna Grade School
  • Vienna High School
  • Reeseville Community Church in Grantsburg
  • Grantsburg Post Office
  • Cypress Village Hall
  • Belknap Post Office
  • New Simpson Hill Grade School
  • Simpson Post Office
  • Ozark Pentecostal Church in Ozark
  • New Burnside Park in Burnside

Note: Lunch and a breakfast item will be included in the bags. Those in need but unable to reach one of the pickup locations are asked to call 618-658-4461, ext. 217, or to email In the message, leave a drop-off location.

Alexander County:

10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Cairo Unit School District 1

The school is delivering meals into the Cairo community for its students and all children who attend Head Start. 

Cairo schools and Southern Illinois Worship Center  

  • 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.  

The Southern Illinois Worship Center will set up a food pantry at the Cairo Junior/Senior High School on Mondays.


On Twitter: @MollyParkerSI ​

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