SEMBACH, Germany -- With schools operating virtually across Europe during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Army & Air Force Exchange Service began providing grab-and-go breakfasts and lunches at participating schools March 23.The Exchange, which has been operating the overseas school meal program for military students since the late 1970s, introduced the grab-and-go meal option to help military families while their children are learning at home."The Exchange team is mission essential, and we are honored to serve military families during this worldwide pandemic," said Col. Scott McFarland, the Exchange's Europe/Southwest Asia commander. "With the grab-and-go option, parents can focus on their core missions, while the Exchange ensures the students receive hot, healthy meals prepared in a clean and safe environment."During its first week of the grab-and-go program, the Exchange served more than 3,000 meals. Sonja Gates, school meal program manager for the Kaiserslautern Military Community district, hopes the number will increase as more families become aware of the program."The Student Meals Program is a valuable resource for our students and military families. I am proud of how AAFES, community leaders and DoDEA staff have come together to ensure that this program continues to provide nutritious meals during this challenging time," said Dr. Dell McMullen, DODEA Europe Director.Julia Wilson, a military wife and mother, said she is grateful for the meals."I was surprised because it was more than I expected," Wilson said. "I have three children, so this has been great."For military spouse and mother of three children, Jovonna Nelson, the grab-and-go meals are a stress-relief."With the kids having to be homeschooled right now, this relieves the burden of having to cook multiple times a day," Nelson said. "The kids are excited and enjoy eating the school's lunches."Parents who wish to participate in the grab-and-go program can send an email to participating schools. Parents can then stop by a centralized location for the grab-and-go meals, Monday through Friday, between 8:30 - 11:00 a.m.