Kids can eat free while schools are closed due to the coronavirus. Photo courtesy of Flickr user grassrootsgroundswell

Where to Get Free Food for Children With No School


School’s out — for at least the next few weeks, to limit the spread of the coronavirus. One of the biggest concerns with closing schools was leaving at-risk children who rely on healthy school lunches with no food at home.

Boulder County is stepping up to help assure no child is left hungry. Here’s where to find free or cheap food for children and families during this time.

Boulder Valley School District

The school district is distributing food and fresh produce to families.

The current schedule is: Tuesday, March 17, and Thursday, March 19, from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. At specific pick-up locations, families will get a bag filled with both non-perishable and fresh food. You don’t need to provide identification or fill anything out to get food.
Here’s where to pick-up emergency food in Boulder County: Sanchez Elementary School, Creekside Elementary, Crest View Elementary, Columbine Elementary, Louisville Middle School, Nederland Middle-Senior High School, Pioneer Elementary School and University Hill Elementary School. In Broomfield, you can get food at Emerald Elementary.

Note: The school district is not planning on distributing food the week of March 23-27, because that is spring break.

You can help. The Boulder Valley School District’s nonprofit, Impact on Education, is currently accepting donations.

St. Vrain Valley School District

St. Vrain in east Boulder County is also offering meals for students, families and staff in need. From March 16-March 20, St. Vrain will have 11 food pick-up locations where you can get breakfast and lunch food items.

Get food every day from 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. at: Timberline PK-8, Northridge Elementary School, Altona Middle School, Sunset Middle School, Soaring Heights PK-8, Frederick High School, Mead Middle School, Lyons High School (from noon-12:30 p.m.), Hygiene Elementary School (from 11-11:30 a.m.), Niwot High School and the Learning Services Center.

As with Boulder Valley, there will be no meals during the planned spring break, but they will resume March 30, if school closures continue.


Boulder Valley’s nonprofits for needy families are scheduled to remain open to make sure no one goes hungry. The Sister Carmen Community Center, 655 Aspen Ridge Drive in Lafayette, and the Community Food Share, 650 S. Taylor Ave. in Louisville, have both announced they will stay open and are accepting donations.

Get food at the food bank 9:30-11:30 a.m. and 1-p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, as well as 1-6 p.m. Wednesdays.

You can help by donating to the COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund.

Boulder Food Rescue. Courtesy photo

The Boulder Food Rescue is also remaining open and delivering food via its no-cost grocery programs, “because our model is actually best adept at responding to this crisis. When folks will not be able to go out to access other services, they will be able to access BFR food in their communities,” the rescue writes on its website. It has made several changes to ensure greater safety of the community and volunteers.

Local Restaurants

Local restaurants are also extending help.

The Roost’s food for children. Courtesy photo

The Roost, Jefes and Smokin Bowls

In Longmont (526 Main St.), The Roost, Jefes (246 Main St.) and Smokin Bowls (449 Main St.) are all providing free kids meals for dine-in or take-out. You can get the food Monday through Friday (March 16-20) between 11 a.m.-noon for lunch and again between 5-6 p.m. for dinner. No purchase necessary. Everyone (not just children) is also welcome to take fresh oranges and apples.

Free fruit at Jefes. Courtesy photo

At Jefes, the food available is: a burrito bowl (gluten-free) with chicken tinga, jack cheese, Jefes’ rice and black beans; the RBC burrito with refried beans, Jefes’ rice and jack cheese in a flour tortilla; or a taco plate (gluten-free): carnitas taco on corn tortilla, Jefes’ rice and refried beans.

Kids ordering at Smokin Bowls. Courtesy photo

At Smokin Bowls, the free kids’ meals March 16-20 are a gluten-free rice bowl with grilled chicken, steamed rice, carrots, bell peppers, Ponzu sauce and sesame seeds; mac and cheese with a white cheddar sauce; or a burrito with rice, black beans and cheese in a flour tortilla. In addition, Smokin Bowls has $5 Fridays: Every Friday, you can get fresh food fast for five bucks, plus all bowls are $5 all day.

A girl eating a bowl at Smokin Bowls. Courtesy photo

At The Roost, the free kids meals are a rice bowl with grilled chicken, steamed rice, carrot, bell pepper, Ponzu sauce and sesame seeds; mac and cheese; or a PBJ and tater tots.


Arcana’s Instagram post about its changes. Courtesy photo

In Boulder, Arcana, 909 Walnut St., is no longer offering in-house dining and has moved into “community resource mode.” It is offering a sliding-scale, pay-what-you-can meal pick-up and delivery service, starting March 17 at 4 p.m.

Order via phone at 303-444-3885.

The meals have a suggested price of $20, but Arcana requests you pay what you can.

Instead of tips, Arcana requests you donate to staff support; the restaurant will continue to pay people who cannot work. The restaurant will be turned into an “isolated safe zone” where the staff doing meals will avoid outside contact, and the restaurant will be kept as clean and safe as possible.

“We will get through this, together. As we find our footing, we are leaning on things that feel right, things that feel useful. We look forward to feeding as many people as possible in the safest way. We want to work, but we’re going to rest too,” Arcana writes on an Instagram post. “We have a health and wellness culture at Arcana, and we take it seriously. We promise to proceed with every possible focus on the wellbeing of the community. We are at your service.”

Rise Artisan Bread

Rise Artisan Bread. Courtesy photo

Nearby in Berthoud, Rise Artisan Bread, 403 5th St., is offering free breakfast and lunch to students Monday-Friday while school is closed. Just order off the special “school’s out” menu. No questions asked. Students can come in any time that works for them during open hours and take the food to go or eat it at the bakery.

Cornerstone Cafe

Also in Berthoud at 250 Mountain Ave., Cornerstone Cafe is offering free breakfast and lunch to kids who are out of school for the next two weeks, whether you are on a lunch program or not. No questions asked.

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