Child nutrition staff members smiled as they handed out lunch bags to students on Monday.
At Navarro Intermediate School, cars filled with hungry families rolled by the west side of the cafeteria as Navarro’s Director of Child Nutrition Carlette Drabek and her team distributed lunches and breakfast items.
“Since we are closed down, we feel that they still need to have a meal to eat,” she said. “We are providing a lunch for today and a breakfast tomorrow for them to consume. Students have to eat, and some students may need the food that they may not be able to get because of food insecurity in Texas.”
The meal distribution is 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Monday through Friday at the Navarro Intermediate cafeteria.
The items served consist of breakfast and lunch foods to ensure students have a well-rounded assortment, Drabek said.
“Today we have a Lunchable … it is raisins, apples, vegetables, some cold vegetables like carrots, and for breakfast it is cereal fruit, a cheese stick, and milk,” she said on Monday. “It’s everything that makes our reimbursable meal if we were serving in our cafeteria.”
The food was initially intended for students’ return from Spring Break, Drabek said.
“This is food that we would have served in the cafeteria if we would have been in school today,” she said. “So it’s not like we don’t have the food to provide to the students. We were preparing for the week coming back after Spring Break, so it’s what we have.”
For some, Drabek said, this is the only meal they might get.
“We’re here to help the community, and we’re here to serve our kids,” she said.
Navarro ISD announced the food drive late Sunday; however, Drabek said the notice was ample time to prepare for the food drive.
“Every day is a guessing game,” Drabek said. “Today, we actually prepared for 25 because of the notification timeline, we weren’t sure what to expect. As we continue going, if we continue to grow more students coming through, we’ll continue to add to our numbers. It’s about feeding the kids, and if we can help in any way to feed them, this is why we are here to do what we do.”
Navarro ISD parent Jasmyn Toms applauded the district’s quick actions to feed the community.
“I think it’s a great thing, honestly,” she said. “It’s helping us out. I have three kids of my own, so to have something like this is incredibly beneficial. They’re a great district.”
Those who attend the food drive must provide a handful of information before they are awarded a bag, Drabek said.
“The parent is required to come with the students for us to be able to gather the information from them,” she said. “The students must [provide] their name and possibly their student ID number and grade level. We need to be able to see that child. You can’t just drive up and say, ‘I have five kids at home,’ and be able to grab those meals at that time.”
Seguin ISD is also serving up food at the high school, Koennecke, McQueeney, Rodriguez, and Jefferson elementaries and Ball Early Childhood Center.
“With school being closed, it’s a time of uncertainty, so we want to make sure that parents know where their next meal can come from,” Seguin ISD Director of Child Nutrition Jacob Galvan said.
At Seguin ISD, child nutrition staff distributed the food in two intervals, breakfast from 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. and lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., Galvan said.
“This is food we normally serve on a weekly basis,” he said. “So it’s food that we already have in stock, things that we were planning to serve for school but we’re trying to prioritize giving shelf-stable items to make sure that the food parents are getting from our line travel safe for them and they don’t have to worry about any spoilage.”
In addition to the breakfasts and lunches, Seguin ISD passed out a little extra food from the San Antonio Food Bank.
“It’s in order to give them an extra meal if they need it for dinner, or nights and weekends, that kind of thing,” Galvan said.