In light of COVID-19-related closures, local schools and food pantries are offering free meals to students and families in Marion County.

The Knoxville School District will be providing a sack containing both breakfast and lunch for their Free Meals Program. All children under 18 years-old are eligible. Beginning March 23, pick-up will be available Monday – Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. KCSD will try to make arrangements for those who cannot pick up meals. Meals can be picked up in the KHS parking lot by entering the west parking lot off Willetts Drive and exiting onto Madison Street.

Families in the Melcher-Dallas Community School District can apply through USDA to receive meals for students by drive-thru, pickup or other methods during school closures. These meals will be free to any child 18 and under. Meals will be available from the high school location every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 11-11:30 a.m. through Thursday, April 9.

Beginning Monday, March 23, “grab-and-go” meal services will be provided by the Pleasantville School District and will continue through the school shutdown. Meals will be available for pick up from 8:30-10:30 a.m. at the high school commons entrance. These meals are prioritized for Pleasantville students and are available at one per person.

Students cannot stay on site to eat, and meals are intended to be taken off campus. The district will also attempt a meal delivery service for those in need. To request for meals to be delivered, complete the following online form at If you are unable to access the meal delivery request form or have trouble with the form for any reason, contact Amy Fallis in the district office at (515) 848-0555.

Celebrate Church Food Pantry at the Crosswalk Building, located at 810 West Robinson, will be open Wednesdays from 1-4 p.m. There will be curbside parking/pick-up for those in need.

The Panther Pantry at the Knoxville High School will remain fully operational during the coming weeks. Beginning March 23, the pantry will distribute food on Monday, March 23, March 30 and April from 3:30-5:30 p.m. Families must live within the Knoxville Community School District and have children that either attend school, are home schooled, are of pre-school age or are open-enrolled in the district.

Helping Hands is offering food pick-up every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Large distribution dates will continue to be the second and fourth Mondays of the month. Helping Hands Coordinator Chuck Galeazzi says the organization received 17,000 pounds of food on Friday, and they’ve served close to 300 families so far. They are also practicing self-distancing and have sanitizer on hand. Galeazzi says the organization would appreciate donations of hand sanitizer, toilet paper and other necessities during this time in order to provide them to the families they serve throughout the county.

The Melcher-Dallas Food Pantry will continue to distribute free meals the second and fourth Wednesdays of the month from 4-6 p.m. The pantry is open to individuals living in the Melcher-Dallas school district, and individuals can come once per month. Meals will be available by drive-up/pickup.

The Pleasantville Food Pantry will be open the fourth Friday of the month at 1 p.m. for food distribution for families and individuals living in the Pleasantville School District. If individuals are needing food outside of this time frame, call 515-848-3973.

Emily Hawk can be reached at or by calling the Pella newsroom at 641-628-3882.

Emily Hawk can be reached at or by calling the Pella newsroom at 641-628-3882.

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