Despite being one of the industries hit hardest by the coronavirus outbreak, restaurants across the Twin Cities are still doing what they can to help struggling families now that schools are being shut down.
School lunches are a valuable source of nutrition for many children, and while Gov. Tim Walz announced Sunday that even during the shutdown efforts will be made to keep making meals available to students, restaurants across the metro are also stepping up to fill the gap.
We've put together a running list of those offering help, and since the advice from the state and federal government is to engage in social distancing, we are featuring eateries that offer free meals as a bagged/boxed carry-out option or with curbside pickup.
Since restaurants are facing economic strife amid the ongoing crisis, we would also urge you to buy a meal for yourself if you're able to when picking up kids meals.
This list will be updated as we become aware of more offers. Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to let us know of one.
318 Cafe, Excelsior: Free turkey, ham and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with a side of fruit to all children in need. Call (952) 401-7902 during opening hours and a staff member will bring it out to your car.
Bourbon Butcher, Farmington: Free boxed lunches during normal business hours for any child, with choice of sandwich, fruit cup, chips, cookie, and milk. Call 651-344-7600 for more.
Day By Day Cafe, St. Paul: Free hot dogs and chips for kids home from school starting Monday. Call 651-227-0654 for curbside pickup.
Dunn Brothers, St. Michael: Teaming up with Westbridge Community Church to offer free lunches from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. via pickup at the Westbridge parking lot.
Granite City Brewery Rosedale and Eagan: Is making box lunches for kids including a turkey sandwich, chips and apple sauce.
Great Harvest, Maple Grove: Call (763) 416-1911 to order ahead and pickup curbside. It's also offering free breads and goodie bags to families in need.
Hope Breakfast Bar, St. Paul: Wants people to suggest families in need, with the restaurant then making a breakfast, lunch or dinner for them.
Lucky Cricket, St. Louis Park: Offering free meals to under 12s. Its drive up and away service can be contacted at 952-206-6830, with staff bringing orders directly to your vehicle.
Manger Restaurant, Bayport: Kids lunches and dinners including sandwich, banana, carrot sticks, peanut butter crackers and a juice box are available for pickup from coolers on the restaurant's patio.
Rascals, Apple Valley: From Tuesday, free boxed lunches available for pickup between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., comprising sandwich, apple sauce, chips and dessert. Call 952-431-7777 during those hours to arrange.
Tavern 4&5 Eden Prairie: Offering choice of ham, or turkey and cheese sandwich, fruit or applesauce, and chips. Call 952-934-4545, and they will bring the items to your car.
Trappers Bar and Grill, Lino Lakes: Offering free carry-out bagged lunches including a turkey or ham sandwich, chips, apple sauce and a snack. No purchase necessary.
Whiskey Inferno, Prior Lake: Offering free boxed lunches for kids – including a sandwich, fruit cup, chips, cookie, and milk – during normal business hours by calling (952) 855-4665.
Cafe Cravings, White Bear Lake: Sandwich and chips provided for kids from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. For curbside pickup you can call 651-482-7742 or send a message via Facebook Messenger.