Food distribution program fills crucial need
Lincoln High School Principal Mark Larson directed cars out of the parking lot Monday after families picked up free meals for the next five days, a service provided by LPS during the school closure.
As the cars drove by, he always waved. More often than not, he knew the student’s name and said hi.
“The food distribution program is a great opportunity for us to know that our students and families are being cared for - and selfishly, it’s an opportunity for me to see the faces of the students that I miss seeing everyday, even if it is through a car window,” Larson said.
A similar scene played out at 11 other school sites on Monday. Families remained in their vehicles, waited in line and LPS staff placed meals in their trunk or through open hatchbacks. In total, LPS Nutrition Services distributed 44,685 meals - breakfasts and lunches - to 4,468 children. Each child received five breakfasts and five lunches. Food distribution occurs every Monday, 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m., or until the meals provided to each school site run out.
Lunches include an entree, a bread serving, juice, fruit and milk. Entrees include hamburger patties, chicken nuggets, country beef patties, breaded chicken patties and corn dogs. All lunch items are frozen and fully cooked, with instructions for preparation. Breakfast meals consist of cereal, juice and milk.
LPS Director of Nutrition Services Edith Zumwalt said they’ve already heard from appreciative families and pointed to one in particular. A parent called who has two children in school and a 4-year-old at home. She expressed her gratitude to Nutrition Services and LPS for what they’re doing.
“She said she is so appreciative and doesn't care if it takes a while to get through the line - what we are doing is heroic in her eyes,” Zumwalt said. “She wanted us to know that there are a lot of families out there who appreciate everything we are doing.”
Larson said the food distribution program fills a critical need.
“One of the hardest things about teachers being away from their students is that when we don't have the opportunity to see them everyday, we worry if they're ok,” he said. “We know that learning is important, but we also know that our students and families have needs that need to be met during this pandemic before learning can happen.”
Published: April 7, 2020, Updated: April 7, 2020