In the first 13 days of school closures mandated in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 46,000 meals have been distributed to children by the city’s two public school districts.
The Escondido Union School District (EUSD) and Escondido Union High School District (EUHSD) are collaborating during this unprecedented public health crisis to ensure that the community’s most vulnerable children continue to receive meals at no cost through the districts’ nutrition programs.
The nutrition services teams are providing two meals, breakfast and lunch, in one to-go bag during the weekday distributions at eight school sites. The meal distribution set-up is conducted in a walk-up or drive-up format to support the recommended physical distancing protocols – ensuring the safety of staff, volunteers, and community members.
EUSD and EUHSD employees and volunteers are assisting at least 2,800 children every weekday through this effort.
“These are children who attend our schools, and working together the districts have found the very best way to meet our community’s needs,” said Dr. Luis Rankins-Ibarra, EUSD superintendent.
EUSD and EUHSD have been collaborating since the school closures were announced March 13 to determine the most effective meal production and distribution process to ensure that the children of Escondido continue to receive nutritious meals.
Some 60 percent of high school students and 70 percent of K-8 students rely on their respective districts’ nutrition programs.
“During this public health crisis, EUSD and EUHSD are united in doing whatever it takes for as long as necessary to ensure the health and safety of all students in our community,” said Dr. Anne Staffieri, EUHSD superintendent.
Because of EUSD’s larger Nutrition Services infrastructure, the K-8 district has taken the lead on food production and transportation of meals to distribution sites. Some 30 EUSD Nutrition Services team members produce the meals. More than two dozen volunteers from both districts assist with the meal distribution daily. The ongoing nutrition program team also includes custodians, site supervisors, drivers, and administrators.
The free to-go meal distribution provided by EUSD and EUHSD will continue until schools reopen, which will be determined by health officials. Meals are distributed from 11 a.m. to noon Monday—Friday, including through spring break, at Central, Juniper, and Rock Springs elementary schools; Del Dios Academy; Mission Middle School; and Escondido, Orange Glen, and San Pasqual high schools. Meals are provided for students 18 years and younger. Families are asked to pick up meals at the school site closest to their home.
Escondido Union School District serves more than 15,300 students in preschool through 8th grade at 23 campuses in the city of Escondido. Escondido Union High School District serves more than 7,500 students in 9th through 12th grades at five campuses.