No Kid Hungry awarded Colton Joint Unified School District (CJUSD) a $78,545 grant in March 2021 to increase school meal participation, to serve meals to hard-to-reach students, and provide school nutrition staff with necessary materials such as personal protective equipment and portable tents to ensure safe meal distribution.
Another exciting component to the grant is that it provides enough bandwidth that when classes return to in-person learning, it will assist the district in reinstating its Gran N Go Meal Carts and breakfast in the classroom initiative.
“COVID-19 has caused a severe disruption in normal meal services. COVID forced us to design a new way of packaging and delivering meals with as minimal contact as possible. We made so many program changes that community outreach became a large area of opportunity. We also started serving meals at a local motel to our students who reside there, this gave us an opportunity to have a high visible delivery van to bring some normalcy to the area,” said CJUSD Director of Nutrition Services Eric Enciso.
When schools across the state closed on March 13, 2021, CJUSD nutrition services was quick to pivot and find alternative methods to serve meals to its students, who otherwise may have gone hungry.
“The CJUSD nutrition team started serving meals on March 18th, 2020. It was a scary time, but we knew that the hunger that faces our community was scarier. Our students in temporary housing needed our help more than ever and we had staff who were open and willing to serve that population. We’ve continued to serve meals and plan to serve them during the upcoming summer break,” continued Enciso.
Enciso also noted that the meals served to students in the district are reminiscent of the types of food they receive while on campus.
“Our meal packs are similar to what students are offered when they are in school and are recognizable enough for the families to piece together a meal that follows the guidelines of the National School Lunch Program.
Over the past year, the CJUSD nutrition services department has entered the community in a way they’ve never done before, by going directly to the students to provide them with meals.
The district is grateful to No Kid Hungry for the generous grant to elevate its meal participation for every student in the district. For more information about CJUSD, visit colton.k12.ca.us.