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With Knox County Schools closed through April 3, several Knoxville restaurants are taking things into their own hands and offering free food to students.
Knox County Schools announced on Monday it would follow the recommendation of Gov. Bill Lee, who called for all Tennessee schools to close.
The number of coronavirus cases in Tennessee reached 73 on Tuesday, with most cases concentrated near Nashville. There have been two cases in Knox County, and Knoxville Mayor Indya Kincannon declared a state of emergency for the city.
The Tennessee Department of Education has received two waivers from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for flexibility when serving food while schools are closed. With the waivers, schools can continue to prepare and serve food while closed, and schools can also use “innovative methods to ensure children receive food,” the Department of Education said.
Knox County Schools will distribute food to any child under 18 starting on March 23 at certain locations. Meanwhile, several restaurants in Knoxville have begun offering free food or meals for students.
Starting on March 18, the Hilton Knoxville will be offering free sack lunches for students, which can be picked up at the hotel’s Starbucks entrance.
Maple Street Biscuit Company
The Maple Street Biscuit Company Kingston Pike location is also offering free biscuit with jam or an iced cinnamon biscuit for students.
“We will happily give your children a biscuit with jam or an iced cinnamon biscuit. No questions asked,” the company wrote on Facebook. “During a time that’s difficult and unsure, rest assured that we have your back.”
Token Game Tavern
Token Game Tavern is offering a free peanut butter and jelly or grilled cheese sandwich for children, “no strings attached.”
“This community has been so good to us and we want to be able to give back in any way we can,” the company wrote on Facebook.
Wings Over Knoxville
Wings Over Knoxville will provide a free kid’s meal for any K-12 student. The meal is available any day of the week.
“We know that there are a lot of families being affected due to school closures, workforce reductions, and many other situations,” the company said in a press release. “While we know we can’t help fix everything, we hope we can provide some relief to those who need it.”
Yassin’s Falafel House
Yassin’s Falafel House is offering one free meal and delivery to students who live within five miles of either location. Students can get the free meal through Gateway Delivery and by using the code YFHGW. A valid ID is needed for delivery.
In a Facebook live video on Monday night, Yassin’s Falafel House owner Yassin Terou said while there are uncertain days ahead, “our community is strong and we are going to get through it.”
“You never lose when you invest in your community,” Terou said.