In early April, a team of 41 hardworking and dedicated Brentwood Union School District (BUSD) “Lunch Ladies” and eight additional support staff (district nurses, campus supervisors and instructional aides) served the 1 millionth free meal since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020.
Despite the emergency school closures and the transition to a distance learning model, the BUSD Nutrition Services team has continued to serve nutritious meals to students, their siblings and other children in the community since March 17, 2020.
Recognizing the pandemic caused some families in the community to struggle to provide nutritious food for their children, the team continued to work on the front lines and adapt to the ever-changing environment to ensure all kids had access to healthy food.
Prior to the pandemic, 2,700 kids in the community relied on free meals provided at school to help get the nutrition they need to learn and thrive.
“With emergency school closures in March 2020, we were dedicated to creating a new way to serve the kids who relied on us, as well as all families looking to maintain a connection with school” said Nutrition Services Coordinator Kristin Nisen.
With numerous United States Department of Agriculture waivers, the BUSD continues to provide free meals to all children. Meals are available at the weekly curb-side meal distribution area every Wednesday afternoon and evening at multiple school locations until the end of the school year. In addition, the BUSD Nutrition Team, along with the assistance of Liberty Union High School District Transportation Department, delivers weekly meals to the doorstep of 75 families who are unable to pick up meals at one of the available locations.
Beginning June 9, meal services will be provided every Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Brentwood Elementary School, Edna Hill Middle School, Marsh Creek Elementary and Pioneer Elementary School, as well as from 12 to 12:30 p.m. at Village Community Resource Center and Clayton Palms Community Room. The weekly free meal distribution will continue through the Summer of 2021 and is available to all children 18 years of age and younger.
The program is available to anyone looking for additional fresh fruits, vegetables, milk, and wholesome breakfast and lunch entrees that help stretch the food budget. Additionally, it can get kids to try new things and maintain a connection to school.
The program is funded by the USDA. Every meal served helps the BUSD Nutrition Services program maintain and expand local jobs and reinvest in the program to continue making improvements in the meals that are served to kids.