Classroom instruction, spring sports and a host of school-related activities have come to a halt with the statewide closure of schools due to the COVID-19 crisis.
But local districts continue to serve up meals to youth to ensure children have access to sound nutrition during the unprecedented shutdown.
Newman-Crows Landing and Gustine unified school districts are each serving up grab-and-go meals on weekdays. Recipients are given a lunch and breakfast for the following day, but no meals are to be consumed at the distribution site.
After serving about 750 students daily Thursday and Friday, Newman-Crows Landing implemented modifications starting Monday which reduced the number of school sites at which meals were being served curbside but implemented a program under which First Student is running several bus routes to drop off meals at regular bus stops.
Caralyn Mendoza, who oversees food services for the district, saw the new format has meals being distributed from 11 a.m. to noon curbside at Von Renner and Barrington elementary schools. In addition, the district food truck is making stops at Fisherman’s Bend/Martin’s Mobile Home Park from 10-10:30 a.m., Catfish Camp from 10:45-11:15 and Bonita School from 11:30-noon.
Meals are also being dropped off at the Mustang Peak Apartments.
First Student is running three Newman routes as well as the Diablo Grande route to take meals to bus stops. Check the NCLUSD website, Newman Community Circle Facebook page and Diablo Grande NextDoor for schedules and stops. Mendoza said school secretaries also notified their families of the routes and schedules.
The program serves youth ages 1-18. Children must be present in order for meals to be served.
Jason Lugo, Sodexo’s food service manager assigned to GUSD, said 300 students were served Friday, and that by Monday the number of students served had climbed to 500.
Meals are distributed from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. weekdays at Gustine Elementary, Gustine High School, Pioneer Park, Henry Miller Park and Borrelli Park in Gustine, as well as the Village Market and Las Flores Drive (next to the fire station) in Santa Nella. Curbside pickup is offered at GES and GHS. Look for the yellow school bus at other distribution locations.
The GUSD program serves all youth under 18 years of age free of charge. Meals will be provided for each child present at time of pick-up.