Knowing the need would be great over the holiday, the William S. Hart Union High School District, in partnership with the District’s food service management company – Sodexo, distributed 39,420 meals on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving to families at each campus.
The Free Holiday Meal Kits, which included six breakfasts and six lunches, were distributed to families as they drove through a designated Grab & Go area on campus. A total of 3,285 families were served, with some of the locations having lines that stretched several blocks.
“We know that many students who traditionally rely on [school-provided] lunches and breakfasts as part of their normal school day have been accessing our Free Grab and Go Meal sites over the past nine months,” said Ralph Peshcek, CBO of the Hart District. “Ensuring that we had some structures in place to be able to distribute food during the long Thanksgiving weekend was essential to supporting the youth in our community. We will be communicating our plans for additional Holiday Meal Kits for the winter break in the next few weeks.”
The meal distribution was made possible as a result of the California Department of Education receiving a special waiver from the United States Department of Agriculture that allows schools to use federal funds to continue serving food during a coronavirus-related closure.
“Our purpose is to provide excellent customer service while providing meals to all youth age 18 and under,” said Kenyatta Turner, Sodexo operations manager. “The gratitude we received in return, from the Santa Clarita community, makes this purpose so fulfilling. Tough times do not last, tough people do.”
The meals included bagels, milk, chicken patties, cheeseburgers, as well as an assortment of fruits and vegetables. Recipes were also provided to families for additional meal preparation, such as using provided carrots to make carrot cake.