Services from the school

District free meals program continues, trauma counseling being offered

T-R FILE PHOTO - Free meals will continue at Marshalltown Schools buildings and partnering locations this summer despite tornado damage. The meals will be provided at Anson, Rogers, Woodbury, Hoglan, Franklin and Fisher elementary schools, Lenihan Intermediate School, the Marshalltown Public Library and the Marshalltown YMCA-YWCA.

The tornado that tore apart a chunk of Marshalltown last week hasn’t stopped Marshalltown Schools from providing free meals to kids this summer — the district is also providing free counseling services for storm victims.

Despite continuing to provide meals, district Food Service Director Lynn Large said there have been some changes in the meal schedule and locations due to the destruction.

“For this week, the Marshalltown Public Library is taking up a couple extra days, and they’ll be serving Tuesday through Friday,” she said. “The Salvation Army will have no meals, but all those people can go to Lenihan (Intermediate School) to eat.”

There are also some changes for district buildings serving lunch this week.

“We are keeping Franklin, Rogers and Woodbury (elementary schools) open through the end of this week, at least — Rogers and Woodbury have no power,” Large said. “Until there’s power, we’re just going to serve a sack lunch.”

The cold sack lunches will include items like sandwiches, fruits, vegetables and milk. They will be served outside the entrances of Rogers and Woodbury during the lunch hours of 11:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.

The rest of the summer meals will be provided “as was originally planned,” Large said.

In addition to the library, Lenihan, Franklin, Rogers and Woodbury, meals will be served for free to anyone up to age 18 at Anson Elementary, Hoglan Elementary, Fisher Elementary and the Marshalltown YMCA-YWCA until Aug. 10. Breakfast will be served for free at Marshalltown High School until that date as well.

Large said the free meals are especially important in the light of the destructive events late last week.

“I feel proud that we’re able to offer some help to our community,” she said. “We hope that feeding them is the least bit we can do to help out.”

Treating trauma

Also being provided for free at the district are counseling services for victims of last week’s storm. The services are available at Marshalltown High School, 1602 S. 2nd Ave., from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. until Thursday and from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday.

“We’re offering the services at the high school in the counseling office … (to) all age groups, including adults,” said district Director of Special Services Matt Cretsinger. “Right now, we’re trying to get families to join us who experienced the tornado.”

He said the counseling is being provided in partnership with Center Associates and the Area Education Agency.

Cretsinger said some of the people going into counseling have symptoms associated with post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD.

“Really, they’re experiencing a traumatic effect from what happened,” he said. “They’re having severe anxiety … they get really nervous going into certain environments, having trouble sleeping.”

The services offered cover different levels of trauma.

“With some families, they or the kids just need some reassurance that it’s safe to be in the community,” Cretsinger said. “We’re also trying to help them realize all the resources available throughout the community.”

Some people have suffered more severely from last week’s events.

“Our school counseling group does what we call brief therapy,” Cretsinger said. “If we have families or children who are having a deeper impact because of the trauma, Center Associates is there to work with them and set up a service.”

Additionally, he said some counselors and school staff have been sent to different buildings in the district to direct those in need of counseling services to the high school.

For more information on summer meals and counseling services, call the Central Administration Office at (641) 754-1000. For updates on the district’s food services, check the Marshalltown School Nutrition Service Facebook page.

——–

Contact Adam Sodders at

(641) 753-6611 or asodders@timesrepublican.com