Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) Nutrition Services Shifts from a take-in-place model to predominantly home delivery, making food even easier for students and families
Oakland – For eleven months now, Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) has been ensuring that our youth have access to nutritious food despite the closure of in-person learning schools. For most of that time, and for most of the students, it meant visiting a school to collect food. But now the majority of students who receive food don’t even have to leave their homes. âIf DoorDash and Uber Eats can bring food to kids, then OUSD can do it too,â said Irene Reynolds, executive director of OUSD nutrition services.
OUSD is now delivering student meals, along with boxes of Salesforce sponsored products and adult meals from Revolution Foods, to family homes on a scale unmatched by any other school district. Five days a week, 120 district staff prepare boxes of food for two dozen drivers to deliver to homes across town. That’s 12,000 boxes of food delivered each week, plus boxes of produce. âWe need to feed our children whether they’re in school or not,â said LaTanya Robinson (right) who works in nutrition services at Castlemont High School and Roosevelt Middle School. âWe all have to eat. I don’t like to see anyone hungry. Some children don’t eat unless they go to school. It is a great blessing for many people.
The boxes normally hold a week’s worth of food, but on Friday the boxes will hold two weeks because there is no school next Friday. âWe have taconadas, bean and cheese burritos, we have mini waffles, yogurt and celery, and so far we have apples and oranges,â said Robinson.
OUSD food ready for delivery
On Mondays and Tuesdays, the centers where the food boxes are assembled send the food to students in western and central Oakland. Wednesday through Friday, boxes are delivered across East Oakland. âWith this home delivery, it makes things easier and more convenient for our families, and that’s what they’re looking for,â said Peggy Gruendl, nutrition services staff member at Castlemont. âOur poor families are at home with their children, trying to zoom them in and trying to finish school. It’s just easier to have it delivered personally to their home, instead of having to be interrupted and come pick up food and go home. Yes, this home delivery is as it should be.
Throughout the pandemic, many OUSD families struggled with the loss of jobs and resources, and many remain without work today. This is why the district mainly hired parents of district students to be the delivery drivers. âMy husband was fired, so I’m the only one bringing income to our house,â said driver Rosario Reyna (left), whose two children attend Greenleaf K-8 school. Not only does she work to provide for her family, but Reyna says that it is also a very important job. âI feel special because I help other families. And I feel like I’m doing a good job.
Drivers deliver up to 150 boxes of food per day. They can also take boxes of food home to make sure everyone in their family has enough to eat. “He says we are ready to do everything in our power to put children first and make sure they have all the supports they need to get the most out of their education no matter what situation they are in. are facing, âsaid Irene Reynolds of Nutrition Services. âWe all know that students need nutrition to thrive. In order to make sure we are supporting their learning, this out of the box thinking had to happen. “
3,500 students still get their food through take-out food distribution sites throughout the district. For more information about our food program and to sign up for home delivery for your student, you can visit our website at www.ousd.org/covid-19studentmeals.
About the Oakland Unified School District
In California’s most diverse city, Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) is dedicated to creating a learning environment where “Every Student Thrives!” Â»More than half of our students speak a language other than English at home. And each of our 81 schools is blessed with talented individuals who unite around a common set of values: students first, fairness, excellence, integrity, cultural responsiveness and joy. We are committed to preparing all students for academic, professional and community success.
To learn more about OUSD’s full-service community district focused on achieving academic success while serving the whole child in safe schools, please visit OUSD.org and follow @OUSDnews.
This article is based on a press release from OUSD to Zennie62Media, Inc.
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