SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- For the past few weeks, the City of Springfield has given out thousands of meals to local children, who would normally receive food through the school system.

But for many parents who are essential employees and work unusual hours or don’t have access to regular transportation and are going to the food pick-up sites, have said it can be a challenge.

Western Mass News spoke to the resident, Kim Rivera who is volunteering to bridge that gap.

The City of Springfield has set up 17 food pickup sites, where families can get meals for their children while schools are closed due to coronavirus.

"If you don’t have no transportation it’s not gonna work, so that’s where I come in," Rivera.

For essential worker parents, who may not have time or transportation to one of those 17 pickup sites...there’s only one Rivera.

"Right now I have five families. This week...I had six families," Rivera explained.

Rivera has been using her car to deliver meals and school work to Springfield families - for free.

"There are some people that are actually working and maybe the grandparents or the neighbors are watching their children," Rivera explained.

Rivera, who is a local activist, got the idea from Doris Harris, who works at the Gandara Center.

Harris, who delivers to her clients, told Western Mass News she noticed a need from the community shortly after schools closed.

"People that work and they catch the bus and they have their children home with older children, who don’t have the means to walk to the school," Harris explained.

Though they have to maintain social distancing, the women told us it is nice to wave to the families from the car.

"Unfortunately, we have to be 6-feet apart, so we put it on the porch and we can just give them a nice wave," Harris noted.

For Rivera, the services that help local students succeed in times of health are even more important times of uncertainty.

"It’s important to support our essential workers and it’s also important to support our families. We want to make sure kids are still fed and still have an opportunity to education," Rivera said.

Copyright 2020 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation).  All rights reserved.

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