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 More Than 4 Million Meals Served During School Closures

Updated May 28

School districts across the county served more than 4 million meals to families in their communities between March 16 and May 15 and the meals continue to be served daily. 

The San Diego County Office of Education (SDCOE) maintains a list of all known sites across the county where districts are offering meals for students, as well as information on community food distribution sites.

When districts made the decision to close schools, one of the highest priorities was to ensure that students from low-income families were still getting enough food.

Though the logistics were challenging, with social distancing guidelines and other concerns, districts across the county worked to establish this important resource in their communities, distributing an estimated 300,000 meals a week.

SDCOE supported this effort in several ways. One of those ways was to work with districts and other organizations to make sure students everywhere in the county have access to food, even in rural areas where schools are more dispersed. The Juvenile Court and Community Schools (JCCS) Nutrition Services team has stepped up to make that happen by assisting districts' food service departments at their production kitchens and feeding sites.

"The emergency feeding sites they are operating around the county are the front-line defense for our county's communities most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic," said Jerry Smith, food service program supervisor for JCCS. "These are school food service heroes, in my opinion."

To better serve the families from the JCCS program, the Nutrition Services team partnered with Feeding San Diego and the San Diego Food Bank to deliver boxes of food to families so they could make their own meals at home.

Families across the county trying to locate where they can pick up meals, have an easy place to find all the information they need, regardless of what school district they're in.

Other teams are helping in different ways, including PASS AmeriCorps employees who helped prepare and distribute lunches to families in Warner Springs and JCCS employees who have helped connect families with vital resources.

"Our entire team, classified, certificated, and management, have been active in contacting families and conducting regular check-ins," said Stephanie Cruz, a teacher at 37ECB. "We have had staff members collect donations of gas cards and gift cards and deliver them to our most needy families. Others have purchased groceries and toilet paper out of their own pockets to ensure our students' families were getting the bare necessities. Still others have spent their spring break gathering information about community resources including food banks, housing services, and unemployment assistance in order to provide it to those in need."