DMPS to Launch Meal Program During COVID-19 Shutdown

Des Moines Public Schools is implementing an expanded meals program beginning tomorrow, making multiple meals available to all DMPS students during the COVID-19 closure.

DMPS educates 33,000 students, 76% of whom qualify for free and reduced lunch. As soon as an extended closure due to COVID-19 became necessary, Director of Food and Nutrition Amanda Miller began pulling together resources to make food available to DMPS students.

“Access to food is critical during the summer, and even more so during unexpected extended periods of time without access to the regular meals schools provide,” Miller said. “We wanted to put together something as comprehensive as possible to support our students.”

Starting tomorrow, March 26, the district’s food and nutrition staff, along with DMPS employees and others who are volunteering their time, will distribute food at all middle school locations and a dozen auxiliary sites throughout the community.

Food service will include a grab-and-go lunch, breakfast for the next day, and on Fridays additional food for the weekend. DMPS is preparing 5,000 meals for the first day and will adjust accordingly to meet demand. Meals will be distributed between 11:30 AM and 12:30 PM each week day.

U.S. Department of Agriculture grants are helping to pay for the meals. However, the district hopes to expand service even further.

“We have a special ask of the community,” Miller said. “We’d like to be able to provide additional snacks like fruits, vegetables and crackers for students to fill the gap between lunch and breakfast the next day.”

DMPS Food and Nutrition has established an online donation site for those interested in helping keep students fed during the COVID-19 closure. Checks may also be sent to:

DMPS Food and Nutrition
c/o Jessica Buchheit
2100 Fleur Dr.
Des Moines, IA 50321


  • Brody Middle School, 2501 Park Ave.
  • Callanan Middle School, 3010 Center St.
  • Goodrell Middle School, 3300 E. 29th St.
  • Harding Middle School, 203 East Euclid Ave.
  • Hiatt Middle School, 1430 East University Ave.
  • Hoyt Middle School, 2700 East 42nd St.
  • McCombs Middle School, 201 County Line Road
  • Meredith Middle School, 4827 Madison Ave.
  • Merrill Middle School, 5301 Grand Ave.
  • Weeks Middle School, 901 East Park Ave.

In addition, DMPS will be providing student meals at the following locations:

  • The Meadows, 2525 County Line Rd.
  • Common Bond, 1421 Des Moines St.
  • Deer Ridge, 6000 Creston Ave.
  • Oakridge, 1401 Center St.
  • Hickman Flats, 2400 Hickman Rd.
  • The Watchman, 2723 Euclid Ave.
  • Willow Park, 6514 Chaffee Rd.
  • Oak View Terrance, 2901 Boston Ave.
  • Melbourne, 5515 SE 14th St.
  • Living Waters Fellowship, 3000 SE 22nd St.
  • Woodland Park Apts., 4530 Lower Beaver Rd.
  • Apartments at 2501 24th St.

We are asking everyone who arrives for a meal remain in their vehicles whenever possible and adhere to the Iowa Department of Public Health social distancing guidelines of using available hand sanitizer, standing at least 6-feet apart, and staying home if they are ill.

Nutrition staff began assembling meals today. For health and safety reasons we could not accommodate more than our own team in the kitchens at the Food and Nutrition Center. However, we did record some raw video and interviews, and photographs, that you are welcome to use. Please find video/interviews here. Please find photos here. Interviews: Amanda Miller, DMPS Director of Food and Nutrition. Lizeth Contreras, DMPS Food Service.

Photos of DMPS Food & Nutrition Staff Preparing Grab-and-Go Meals
Meals Keep Rolling at CNC

Video of DMPS Food & Nutrition Staff Preparing Grab-and-Go Meals