Bay Area School Officials to Provide Meals for Students Affected by Closures

Doug Sovern
March 14, 2020 - 11:58 am
School Lunch

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School officials around the Bay Area are setting up special systems to make sure tens of thousands of students still get fed, in light of the school closures due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Roughly three-quarters of Oakland’s public school kids depend on the free or reduced cost meal program, which feed them both breakfast and lunch. It’s a big reason Oakland Unified was reluctant to close. 

Preston Thomas, Chief Systems Officer for Oakland Unified School District, says 12 schools will open on Mondays and Thursdays from 8 a.m. to noon just for kids to pick up free meals. 

“These will be a lot of foods that have shelf life on them over multiple days, so that they can take them home and eat them over the three days,” Thomas said. “That’s how we’re timing this, so that most of the foods that they’ll pick up on Monday will be able to bridge over until Thursday, and then they’ll be able to pick up foods on Thursday.”

Anna Davis is a hotel housekeeper who says her 11th grade son could not survive without those meals.

“Oh my god, it is so important because right about now,” Davis told KCBS Radio. “We’re struggling with rent and bills and stuff like that so we really, really need the food.”

Unlike so many cramming their pantries with cart loads from Costco, Davis says her family will have to get by on less until this coronavirus crisis passes.

“It’s a disaster, we just pray that it’ll be over. Maybe not soon but it’ll be over one day.”

Other Bay Area school districts are also doing their part in easing the food anxieties caused by the school closures.

San Francisco school officials will also provide meals to students impacted by closures.

West Contra Costa County is also offering two sites for food pickup.

Meals for children under 18 can be picked up between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. weekdays at Richmond High School, 1250 23rd St. in Richmond; or. Kennedy High School at 4300 Cutting Blvd. in Richmond.

Families are able to drive or walk to either location, but will not be able to eat on either campus.

Schools in Piedmont, San Francisco, San Leandro, Marin County, Solano County, West Contra Costa County and elsewhere will be closed in an effort to stem the spread of the virus.