When Whittier Union physically closed its campuses on March 16, the District’s Nutrition Services staff, clad in protective gear and face coverings, began gathering every day to assemble the much-needed breakfast and lunch meals for area children and teens, delivering them through a grab-and-go/curbside pick-up service.
Since then, the District has served 51,330 free meals from its six distribution sites, providing families comfort and support during a time of unease.
“Over the past month, our Nutrition Services staff have been on the front lines, working tirelessly to support our students and families when they need us most and providing a sense of hope, stability and positivity,” Superintendent Martin Plourde said. “I want to thank our community for supporting our efforts and recognize our Nutrition Services team for their diligence, dedication and seamless delivery of such an essential program.”
Closure of Whittier Union schools will continue through the end of the 2019-20 school year to limit the spread of COVID-19, promote social distancing and ensure the safety of students and staff.
Still, that hasn’t stopped the District’s essential meal service from continuing or Nutrition Services staff members from prioritizing the nutrition and health of students. Community members have noticed the dedication, donating homemade masks and face coverings, celebrating staff with drive-by parades and donating breakfast items.
“Those small gestures are incredibly appreciated by our staff, especially at this time,” Director of Food and Nutrition Services Elizabeth Brown-Smith said. “We’re a community that looks out for one other and we’re deeply grateful for it. We look forward to continuing to serve the students and children of our community.”
Starting Monday, April 20, the District will shift to a two-day meal service and implement new distribution guidelines:
- Meals will be distributed to children 18 and younger from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Mondays (which will cover meals for Monday and Tuesday) and Wednesdays (which will cover meals for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday) at Cal High, La Serna, Pioneer, Santa Fe and Whittier high schools and the Sierra Education Center.
- To ensure meals are prioritized for Whittier Union students, families are encouraged to pick up meals at the beginning of the distribution window.
- It is recommended that all students be in the car. Parents who cannot bring their children must show the student’s ID and will be limited on the number of meals they receive.
- As part of the directives issued by county public health officials, members of the public must wear face coverings when picking up meals.