Free breakfasts

Joni Linscott, right, picked up breakfasts for her three children Monday morning in front of Brooklyn Primary School. Volunteers from the First Presbyterian Church, Karen Kolb-Schoeningh, middle, and Debbie Watson, left, filled paper bags with warm French toast and orange slices. Monday was the first day public schools were closed due to an order from Oregon Gov. Kate Brown intended to reduce the spread of coronavirus. Schools will remain closed at least until April 1. During the closure, the Baker School District is offering free breakfasts and lunches on weekdays for ages 18 and under at Brooklyn, South Baker and Baker High School, and lunches at Haines Elementary.

The French toast was ready Monday morning, tucked into insulated pouches and waiting to be claimed on the sidewalk in front of Brooklyn Primary School.

On the first day of a statewide closure of Oregon public schools due to the coronavirus, Angela Lattin, dean of students at Brooklyn, rolled out a cart containing French toast and orange slices.

Karen Kolb-Schoeningh and Debbie Watson, volunteers from the First Presbyterian Church’s Open Door program, stood by, ready to serve what amounted to a free drive-through breakfast.

The Baker School District set up a free breakfast and lunch program at four district schools, available to everyone 18 and younger, including those too young to attend school. The program will operate Monday through Friday during the school closure, which will continue at least until April 1 under Gov. Kate Brown’s order.

The closure will lengthen by at least six days the Baker School District’s spring break, which was scheduled for March 23-27.

Joni Linscott was the first customer at Brooklyn, arriving around 7:45 a.m.

Linscott left with a breakfast sack for each of her three children — Jaidyn, 7, a first-grader at Brooklyn; Emma, 10, a fourth-grader at South Baker; and Ian, 2.

Linscott said the extended school closure won’t have a major effect on her because she’s a stay-at-home mom and won’t have to scramble to arrange daycare.

But she said her two daughters were both disappointed about missing meals at school.

“I’m really glad the schools are providing these resources,” Linscott said.

Superintendent Mark Witty said Monday afternoon that on the first day of the program district workers and volunteers served 60 breakfasts and 150 lunches.

He asked people who need more than six meals at one time to go to Baker High School because that site is better equipped to handle larger volume requests.

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