By Al Tadayon
As thousands of parents struggle to put food on the table during the coronavirus pandemic, California food banks are partnering with schools to feed children, as well as their families.
With schools shut down across the state, districts are serving “grab and go” meals to students in an effort to stop the coronavirus spread. Many have also allowed food banks to distribute boxes of groceries at the school sites. The largest effort is underway at the Los Angeles Unified School District, which has partnered with star chef Jose Andres and other organizations to provide meals for both students and their parents.
“We know entire families are going hungry, so when families are going to the school district, there may be others in the household who need food as well,” said Andrew Cheyne, director of government affairs for the California Association of Food Banks. “Schools in this environment have become a bright spot — they are known, trusted, highly accessible locations that families are used to visiting.”
Source: California food banks partner with schools to serve families of students during pandemic – Times-Herald
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond announced today that the California Department of Education’s (CDE) “CA Meals for Kids” mobile app has been updated to help students and families find meals during COVID-19-related emergency school closures.
“Food insecurity is a daily struggle for some of our students and their families and that struggle is even more difficult and complicated during the current COVID-19 emergency we’re all facing,” said Thurmond. “I’d like to thank the Nutrition Services Division, the Technology Services Division, and all CDE staff who worked on updating the app—and the hard-working school nutrition staff around the state who have heroically continued working, and who are continuing to serve our students during this unprecedented emergency situation.”
Source: CA Meals for Kids App Update – Year 2020 (CA Dept of Education)
By Richard Bammer
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, as many other state and U.S. school districts are doing, Fairfield-Suisun Unified is pitching in, too, scrambling to feed students after state-mandated school closures.
In a press release issued Thursday, district leaders announced they have begun to serve breakfast and lunches to children ranging in age from newborns to 18 at seven school sites: Cleo Gordon Elementary, Fairfield High, Fairview Elementary, Grange Middle, Suisun Elementary, Crystal Middle School, and David A. Weir Preparatory Academy.
Source: Coronavirus: FSUSD pitches in with free meals for children amid latest pandemic – The Reporter
By Thomas Gase
There was no hoarding or long lines. And no, there wasn’t any toilet paper, sanitary supplies or soap.
However, there was a ton of food and it was free thanks to the Vallejo City Unified School District, which, along with shelf stable provisions donated by the Food Bank, is providing for families in need during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Meals and provisions will be provided on a first-come, first-serve basis for breakfast and lunch in a “grab-and-go” routine from 8 to 9 a.m. for breakfast and 11 a.m. to noon for lunch.
Source: In a crisis, Vallejo schools providing free meals – Times-Herald
By Nick Sestanovich
School in Vacaville may be out through at least March 27 due to the coronavirus, but the Vacaville Unified School District is continuing to ensure its students are not only well-fed but also well-equipped to continue learning.
Beginning Monday, VUSD has been dishing out free breakfasts and lunches at four of its sites to all its students. They also provided free school supplies and classwork.
For breakfast, students got to come with a variety of healthy options, including cereal, granola, yogurt parfait, a muffin or a bagel with cream cheese. For lunch, options included pizza, cheeseburgers, deli sandwiches with turkey and cheese, bean burritos and Caesar salad. All meals also came with fruit, vegetable and milk and were provided by each school’s food services staff.
Source: Coronavirus: Vacaville schools hand out free meals, supplies during closures – The Reporter
By John Glidden
Although Vallejo schools are closed, the district will continue to provide meals “to all students who need them,” District Superintendent Adam Clark announced on Monday.
Starting Wednesday, the Vallejo City Unified School District will begin offering “grab and go” breakfast and lunch meals at five different Vallejo school sites.
- Loma Vista Environmental Science Academy, 146 Rainier St. Meals will be served at the entrance doors to the cafeteria.
- Federal Terrace Elementary School, 415 Daniels Avenue. Meals at the entrance doors to the cafeteria.
- Lincoln Elementary School, 620 Carolina St. Meals outside of the cafeteria.
- Hogan Middle School, 850 Rosewood Avenue. Meals at the side cafeteria doors facing Georgia Street.
- Jesse Bethel High School, 1800 Ascot Parkway. Meals in the parking lot near the cafeteria/student union.
Source: Vallejo school district still offering food to students – Times-Herald
The California Department of Education (CDE) has received a special waiver called CA COVID19 from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) that will enable a school district that had previously been approved to operate the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) or Seamless Summer Option (SSO) to provide meals to students during a coronavirus-related closure.
SFSP and SSO are both federally funded and state-administered programs that serve free meals to children eighteen and younger when school is not in session and in communities where 50 percent or more of the students quality for free and reduced-priced meals.
“When a school or district closes, our first concern is the safety and care of our students,” said California State Superintendent Tony Thurmond. “Our Nutrition Services Division was proactive in reaching out to the USDA to request the necessary approval in anticipation of local educational agencies potentially having to close due to the coronavirus. That advanced planning, combined with the rapid response from the USDA, will allow districts to continue to provide their most vulnerable students with nutritious meals in the event of a closure.”
Source: USDA COVID19 Waiver – Year 2020 (CA Dept of Education)
By Tim Goree
CDE indicates all review areas are in compliance and no response is required.
[Fairfield, CA], [March 6, 2020]: The Seamless Summer Option (SSO) allows sponsors to operate an open community meal site using the National School Lunch Program’s (NSLP) administrative and monitoring requirements. The purpose of the SSO is to assist traditional and year-round schools to make nutritious meals more accessible to children.
Representatives from the California Department of Education (CDE) conducted an Administrative review of Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District’s Seamless Summer Feeding Option for the month of June 2019, and all review areas are in compliance. Once again, FSUSD excels when its operational processes are scrutinized.
Source: Press Release: Positive Outcome from Another FSUSD Compliance Review
Eat REAL’s K-12 certification program will support 185 more schools this and next school year as they continue to raise the bar towards more nutritious, delicious and sustainable meals for students.
Oakland, CA (PRUnderground) February 6th, 2020
Oakland based nonprofit Eat REAL welcomes their first cohort of schools pursuing Eat REAL Certification. Eat REAL is now 100% focused on using its nutrition and sustainability standards to unlock impact within our K-12 schools. The organization started to customize its approach with Mt. Diablo Unified School District in California through the REAL Food in Schools Collaborative. Eat REAL is proud to welcome 4 new districts serving 185 schools and over 84,000 students into its program.
Source: Eat REAL Announces its First Cohort of School Districts Pursuing REAL Certification | PRUnderground
By Todd R. Hansen
Trustees of the Travis School District will be spreading around the kudos for a number of accomplishments when they meet Wednesday.
Among the recognitions is for the winners of Sodexo’s Future Chef Culinary Competition held Oct. 23 at Center Elementary School.
The school board meets at 5:30 p.m. in the Travis Education Center, 2775 De Ronde Drive, in Fairfield.
Seven students from the five elementary schools in the district participated, said Ana Martinez, a child nutrition consultant who works for Sodexo at the Travis School District.
Source: Travis school trustees ‘go into the kitchen’ Wednesday
By Tim Goree
Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District announces its policy to serve nutritious meals every school day under the National School Lunch Program, School Breakfast Program, and/or Afterschool Snack Program. Effective July 1, 2019 through June 30, 2020, children are eligible for free or reduced-price meals if the household income is less than or equal to the federal guidelines.
Households do not need to turn in an application when the household receives a notification letter saying that all children automatically qualify for free meals when any household member receives benefits from CalFresh, CalWORKs, or FDPIR. Children who meet the definition of foster, homeless, migrant, or runaway, and children enrolled in their school’s Head Start program are eligible for free meals. Contact school officials if any child in the household is not on the notification letter. The household must let school officials know if they do not want to receive free or reduced-price meals.
Source: Fairfield-Suisun USD 19-20 Media Release for Free and Reduced-Price Meals – Daily Republic
By Richard Bammer
Travis Unified officials have announced their 2019-20 policy to serve eligible children free or reduced-cost meals if the household income is less than, or equal to, federal guidelines.
The meals, served every school day, are made available by the National School Lunch, School Breakfast and Afterschool Snack programs, administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Under the guidelines, meals and milk are free depending on household size, Sonya Lasyone, the Fairfield school district’s chief business officer, noted in a press release issued earlier this week. A family of one, for example, qualifies with an annual maximum income of $16,237; a family of four with a maximum of $33,475; and a family of eight with a maximum of $56,459. For each additional family member, add $5,746 for the qualifying maximum.
Source: TUSD officials post policy about free and reduced-cost school meals – The Reporter
By Times Herald
Fewer college students will presumably go hungry with the Legislature’s passing of Sen. Bill Dodd’s College Student Food Insecurity Bill, his office announced.
A bill from the Napa Democrat that addresses the growing problem of college student food insecurity by ensuring low-income students have reliable access to nutritious food through the Cal Fresh program, was approved by the Legislature last week, according to the announcement.
“Students shouldn’t have to starve in order to get an education,” Dodd said in the announcement. “My bill will ensure students of modest means don’t go hungry by making it easier for them to receive public assistance. Food insecurity is a serious problem on California college campuses today and this is an important step to addressing it.”
Source: Dodd bill to fight hunger among college students passes – Times Herald
By Nick Sestanovich
With children often depending on their schools as the primary source for healthy meals, the Vacaville Unified School District’s nutrition department will be working to ensure that students continue to have access to such meals when school is out for the summer. The district will once again be offering its Seamless Summer Feeding Program at four sites in Vacaville this summer.
The program, done in conjunction with the California Department of Education and U.S. Department of Agriculture, aims to bridge the hunger gap that students often face in the summer, according to a VUSD news release. Children ages 18 and under will be able to receive free meals Mondays through Fridays at the following locations, times and dates:
Source: Vacaville Unified offering free lunches throughout summer – The Reporter
By Tim Goree
Sponsored by the Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District, children in the Fairfield and Suisun City area have many locations to choose from to receive free meals from breakfast to lunch time! Don’t miss this opportunity to get together with friends and have something free to eat. English and Spanish flyers attached list locations, dates, and times.
For more information, call the FSUSD Child Nutrition Office at (707) 399-5011.
Source: Free Meals for Children 18 and Younger All Summer!
By Beth Dalbey
A disturbing fact in America is that nearly 13 million children are hungry and don’t know what they’re going to eat in their next meal — or if they’ll get a next meal. That’s one in six children. An elementary school in Elkhart, Indiana, saw how much cafeteria food was being wasted because cooks prepared too much and decided to do something about it.
The Woodland Elementary School partnered with Cultivate, a South Bend-based nonprofit, to rescue the wasted food and provide weekend meals for students who don’t have enough food to eat. Through the end of the school year, 20 Woodland students will receive backpacks, each filled with eight individual frozen meals to get them through the weekend.
Source: Uneaten Cafeteria Meals Feed Hungry Indiana Students On Weekends | South Bend, IN Patch
By Allison Aubrey
A coalition of state attorneys general is suing the Trump administration for weakening the federal nutrition standards for school meals that are fed to about 30 million children across the country.
“Over a million children in New York – especially those in low-income communities and communities of color – depend on the meals served daily by their schools to be healthy, nutritious, and prepare them for learning,” New York Attorney General Letitia James said in a statement announcing the lawsuit. Joining James in the lawsuit are the attorneys general of California, the District of Columbia, Illinois, Minnesota, New Mexico and Vermont.
As we’ve reported, last year the Trump administration gave school lunch administrators more flexibility in serving up refined grains, including white breads, biscuits and white pastas. The move weakened standards set during the Obama administration aimed at serving more nutritious and fiber-dense whole grains, which are a key part of a healthy diet.
Source: Attorneys General Sue Trump Administration Over School Nutrition Rollbacks : The Salt : NPR
By Matthew Keys
School meals in California could contain more organic foods under a bill proposed Thursday by a local lawmaker.
The proposal would create a statewide organic food-to-school pilot program within the Office of Farm to Fork within California’s Department of Food and Agriculture.
The legislation, Assembly Bill 958, was authored by Assemblywoman Cecilia Aguiar-Curry, D-Winters, whose district includes Dixon and portions of rural Solano County.
Source: Lawmakers prioritize improvements to school meal programs
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond today announced that applications are available for the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) and Seamless Summer Option (SSO), both federally funded, state-administered programs that serve free meals to children eighteen and younger when school is out of session.
“Food insecurity impacts families throughout the state. When schools are out of session, our most economically disadvantaged students are not only missing academic instruction, they are also missing meals,” said Thurmond. “Access to nutritious and healthy food during the summer months helps students return to school ready to engage and ready to learn.”
According to the California Association of Food Banks, 85 percent of children who benefit from the federally funded free or reduced-price lunches during the school year miss similar lunch programs available during the summer. Every summer, 17 of 20 low-income students fall into the summer nutrition gap.
Source: Applications for Summer Meal Programs – Year 2019 (CA Dept of Education)
By Amy Maginnis-Honey
What started as small talk between a mother and her daughter’s classmate has provided lunches for Tolenas School students.
Jordan Dade was walking her daughter McKenna Dade to kindergarten when the mom spoke with one of the boys and he told her that he lived in a motel.
“I was floored,” Jordan Dade said.
Could it be the boy’s house was being remodeled, she wondered?
She spoke with McKenna’s teacher and was told that a number of students in the district live in motels.
Source: Tolenas student raises funds to pick up lunch tab