When the coronavirus closed schools across Texas, school districts and community organizations stepped up to make sure students continued to get the school meals they rely on. Now the school year is ending, but the need for healthy meals isn’t.
In fact, summer is always one of the hungriest times of the year for many kids as they lose access to free and low-cost school meals. This year, the need will be greater than ever, as the COVID-19 crisis has caused many Texas families to lose jobs and wages.
As #ThankAHungerHero month comes to an end, the work of our hunger heroes remains as important as ever. Today we’d like to highlight the food and nutrition staff at school districts, food banks, and community organizations in the North Texas area who continue to go above and beyond to feed students and families during this crisis.
Carrollton Farmers Branch ISD
Each week, child nutrition staff at Carrollton Farmers Branch ISD prepare to serve five days worth of breakfast and lunch to meet their
students’ nutritional needs. As the pandemic continued, they saw an increase in need across the district and expanded operations to meet the needs of their community by establishing 25 curbside pick up sites at neighborhood schools across the district. Staff at CFBISD have served over 180,000 meals to kids since school closures began!
Every Thursday, child nutrition staff from Dallas ISD serve seven days’ worth of breakfast and lunch to children at most high school and middle school campuses! On average, child nutrition staff are preparing and serving 640,000 meals a week! And, when some Dallas ISD staffers realized there were still many students whose families had transportation challenges and could not make it to meal sites, a group of volunteers and educators from South Oak Cliff High School got together to start hand delivering packaged lunches, breakfasts, and snacks to ensure that more kids were getting the nutrition they need.
Traditionally CitySquare operates meal distribution in the summer time to fill the hunger gap during regular school closures. However, when school closures began in mid-March staff and volunteers at CitySquare sprang into action and began operating mobile meal distribution sites. Many of the families that CitySquare serves have transportation challenges and cannot reach the school sites, so delivering meals where children live is crucial. Staff and volunteers at CitySquare have served more than 50,000 meals since their mobile program started earlier this year!
At Arlington ISD, nearly 73% of students qualify for free or reduced meals. So, when the school district closed in mid-March, the child nutrition staff at Arlington ISD worked hard to ensure students had access to the healthy meals they need to thrive while taking courses online. With twenty-seven curbside pickup locations available at schools across the district, child nutrition staff are providing twelve meals per child per week! In May, child nutrition staff at Arlington ISD announced that they had provided more than 1 million meals since schools closed on March 16th!
The child nutrition staff at Grapevine-Colleyville ISD are going above and beyond to make sure kids are fed during school closures! With seven days’ worth of breakfast and lunch offered at three curbside locations and mobile meal delivery to apartment complexes and neighborhood locations, child nutrition staff have been able to provide more than 170,000 meals since mid-March! Not only that, but the child nutrition department at Grapevine-Colleyville ISD have forged local partnerships to provide additional boxes of fresh fruit and vegetables to families along with “chef inspired ideas” that include fun and creative recipes that families can try!
Eagle Mountain Saginaw
At Eagle Mountain Saginaw, child nutrition staff are providing curbside breakfast and lunch Monday through Friday at five curbside locations providing an estimated 3,500 meals a day! With more than half of EMSISD students living in Fort Worth city limits, the district forged a partnership with the City of Fort Worth, Local YMCAs and the Tarrant Area Food Bank to provide grab and go dinner at two school locations to provide additional meals to children who need it during the crisis.
While #ThankAHungerHero month is over, we hope you will continue to celebrate and thank the Hunger Heroes in your community who nourish kids and families in times of crisis and not. With summer just around the corner, many kids will continue to rely on school districts and community organizations to provide meals. You can help by sharing No Kid Hungry’s Free Meals Finder map or texting hotline by encouraging parents and caregivers to text the word FOOD or COMIDA to 877-877 to find their nearest meal sites.
Mia Medina, Program Associate, No Kid Hungry TX
About No Kid Hungry
No child should go hungry in America. But 1 in 7 kids will face hunger this year. No Kid Hungry is ending childhood hunger through effective programs that provide kids with the food they need. This is a problem we know how to solve. No Kid Hungry is a campaign of Share Our Strength, an organization working to end hunger and poverty. Join us at NoKidHungry.org