October 21, 2021

Summer meals to continue

Kevin Smith/ staff reporter

Summer meal distribution volunteer Shirlene Strough, right, hands Maria Reagan, a mother of three, a bag of meals Monday at the former Parker School site in Cortland. The school is one of seven summer meal distribution sites in Cortland until the end of August.

School districts in the greater Cortland area will continue to run drive-through, grab-and-go summer meal distribution locations until the end of August.

The Cortland Enlarged City School District has seven locations, while Dryden, Cincinnatus, Groton, Marathon and McGraw will have one main pickup center each. There are no locations available in the Homer area and no plans to provide service or create a schedule.

Locations in Cortland, Cincinnatus, Groton and McGraw hand out free meals every weekday; Marathon is open Monday, Wednesday and Friday; and Dryden is every Tuesday throughout the summer. Each location is open to students and parents of their respective school districts.

Meals provided at the Cortland distributed areas include an assortment of breakfast and lunch food from cereal, milk and fruit, to peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, meatball subs, vegetables and juice.

The slew of locations in Cortland are convenient for children or parents either looking to walk or quickly pick up food, said St. Mary’s Catholic School camp counselor Amber Hoyt, who regularly comes by the location at the former Parker School to grab meals for the campers.

“Locations like the one in Parker are great,” she said. “It helps out a lot of families and keeps the kids fed.”

The distribution location in the Dryden Central School District provides enough meals to families to last for a week. In addition to providing food, Dryden also has diapers, formula and baby wipes available.

Dryden used to have two locations but consolidated to one due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We want to protect the staff and the community with this one location,” said Josh Bacigalupi, superintendent of schools at Dryden. “We want to provide as many meals and essentials as possible to families every week.”

Scott Record and Shirlene Strough, volunteers at the Smith and Parker school distribution locations, understand the benefit of having meals provided to families – especially during the summer.

“This could be the only meal these kids get all day long,” Record said. “We feel like we’re doing something to give back by making sure they get something to eat.”

“It’s beneficial for the parents to know they are feeding their children by coming to get food here,” Strough said.

More so can be said in a summer where parents and children are dealing with the challenges faced during the pandemic.

“It’s a lot of relief for parents that are stuck home with their children,” Strough said.

“Everyone has felt so isolated and shut-in,” Record said. “Sometimes coming to these locations is your only human contact.”

Contact any of the school districts for more information regarding the summer meal distribution locations.

Meal distribution locations


  • Barry Primary School (Bus Loop), Monday-Friday, 9-10 a.m.
  • Former Parker School (Front of Building), Monday-Friday, 10:15-11:15 a.m.
  • Penguin Trailer Park (Front of Building), MondayFriday, 10:15-11:15 a.m.
  • Randall Middle School (Bus Loop), Monday-Friday, 9-10 a.m.
  • Rickard Street Apartments, Monday-Friday, 10:15-11:15 a.m.
  • Smith Intermediate School (Bus Loop), MondayFriday, 9-10 a.m.
  • Virgil School, Monday-Friday, 10:15-11:15 a.m.

Cincinnatus Central Schools

  • Main entrance, Monday-Friday, 8-11 a.m.

Dryden Middle/High School

  • Main entrance, Tuesday, 10 a.m. to noon.

Groton Central School

  • C.R. Pavilion, Monday-Friday, 9-11 a.m.
  • Marathon High School

    • Main entrance, Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

    McGraw High School

    • Main entrance, Monday-Friday, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.