Friday, March 20, 2020

Local Schools Have Distributed 20K Meals Since Closing

Posted By on Fri, Mar 20, 2020 at 4:20 PM

click to enlarge Schools have ditched the lunch trays and turned to brown bags amid unprecedented COVID-19 shutdowns in an effort to keep children fed while schools are shuttered. - FILE
  • File
  • Schools have ditched the lunch trays and turned to brown bags amid unprecedented COVID-19 shutdowns in an effort to keep children fed while schools are shuttered.
Humboldt County schools have combined to distribute nearly 20,000 meals since being forced to shutter to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

According to a press release from the Humboldt County Office of Education, the meal distribution programs have seen the demand for meals grow daily since the closure. The distribution programs, many of which are delivering meals via school bus routes, are giving meals to all children, regardless of eligibility for free and reduced meal services. And many districts, including Fortuna Elementary School District, are coordinating to provide meals to any child in their community, regardless of whether they are an enrolled student in the district.

“Our students, as well as students in neighboring districts, can access a free combined breakfast and lunch,” Superintendent Jeff Northern said in the HCOE press release. “This is open to children aged 18 or younger every weekday from 9 to 10 a.m. We are happy to be able to provide food distribution at all four of the district’s schools: Ambrosini, Walker, Fortuna Middle and Toddy Thomas.”


The press release notes that some school site are working to collaborate with family resource centers, churches and tribes to support distribution, adding that the meal services also allow school staff to check in with students and families to see if further support services are needed.

“This effort truly showcases the amazing resiliency of our school personnel to provide essential services to our students despite this unprecedented situation we are all in,” said Humboldt County Superintendent of Schools Chris Hartley. “Our schools are providing enriching opportunities for distance learning and meeting the needs of our families across the region as shown through the meal distribution efforts. I could not be more proud of their service.”

For a complete list of meal distribution sites and schedules, click here. See the full HCOE press release copied below:

Humboldt County Schools Distribute Nearly 20,000 Meals in First Week of School Closure
Humboldt County schools may be closed to normal on site operations, but the work of administrators, teachers and staff continues to meet student and community needs. Through creativity, resourcefulness, and collaboration our districts are pulling together to deliver meals and supplies to students from one end of the county to the other.
In an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19, Humboldt County districts and schools elected to cease on site operations beginning March 16, and have been preparing for next steps. This has allowed for a seamless transition to the new shelter in place orders that came from Humboldt County Public Health and subsequently Governor Newsom just yesterday.
School districts across the region uphold a critical role in our community. They have been ramping up a variety of essential services, which include providing meals to children and youth through pick-up centers in front of schools, meal deliveries, bus stops, and other designated locations.
Meals are provided for any child, 18 years and younger, regardless of free or reduced eligibility. In addition, many districts are collaborating to provide meals to those students in the community where they live, even if they attend school outside their districts of residence.
One of many examples of this is taking place at Fortuna Elementary School District's school sites. “Our students, as well as students in neighboring districts can access a free combined breakfast and lunch,” states Superintendent Jeff Northern. “This is open to children aged 18 or younger every weekday from 9:00-10:00 a.m.. We are happy to be able to provide food distribution at all four of the district’s schools:  Ambrosini, Walker, Fortuna Middle, and Toddy Thomas.”
Many sites are also catering their efforts to meet the needs of their particular families and community, such as collaborating with local family resource centers, churches, and tribes to support distribution. In many cases, this is also allowing staff to check in with students and families in regards to their wellness and determine if further supports are needed.
All districts have reported that the number of meals being distributed continues to grow each day. At this point, children must be present in order to receive meals at any designated site so districts can keep track of distribution numbers.
“This effort truly showcases the amazing resiliency of our school personnel to provide essential services to our students despite this unprecedented situation we are all in,” commends Humboldt County Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Chris Hartley. “Our schools are providing enriching opportunities for distance learning and meeting the needs of our families across the region as shown through the meal distribution efforts. I could not be more proud of their service.”
For a complete list of all districts meal times and distribution locations, please visit our website: https://hcoe.org/covid-19-2/school-meal-times-and-locations/.

Please note many districts continue to modify their distribution efforts in order to meet the greatest needs of the community and as such, this page will continue to be updated to reflect any changes.

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Thadeus Greenson

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Thadeus Greenson is the news editor of the North Coast Journal.

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