School meals

Cafeteria assistant Carmen Aguiniga hands out meals to a family at Cedar Lane Elementary School in Olivehurst on Wednesday.

Local school districts are continuing to offer free meals to Yuba-Sutter children amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“There is a need in our community and we want to make sure all children are receiving the nutrition they need and not going without food,” said Chelsey Slattery, director of student nutrition, purchasing and warehouse services at Yuba City Unified School District.

All children 18 years old and younger are able to receive meals from Yuba City Unified School District and Marysville Joint Unified School District.

Amber Watson, director of student nutrition at Marysville Joint Unified School District, said they have been offering free meals to students enrolled in the district for a few years and during the summer they offer meals to all children in the community.

But, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, they’ve been able to provide free meals to all children during the school year.

“We have a really needy community and we recognize that we’re here to provide a service to school-age children,” Watson said. “...(It) has been a huge blessing to the families that really need it.”

Watson said for the children who are attending school, they get their meals when they go home and families who are either not enrolled or on distance learning have a punch card and can pick up meals curbside.

MJUSD serves lunch, a snack, dinner and breakfast for the next morning.

“With kids coming back, it has really increased our level of service,” Watson said.

She said they’ve been distributing about 4,000 bags of meals per day Tuesday through Friday, when students are on campus, and participation on Mondays is a little lower when students are on asynchronous learning.

Slattery said since YCUSD kindergarten through fifth-grade students are back in the classroom full-time, they are eating lunch on campus but they are sent home with a snack, dinner and breakfast for the next day.

They are also continuing to offer curbside meals for children not enrolled and those on distance learning.

“Our participation has increased slightly since we’ve had students back on campus,” Slattery said.

She said they are serving meals to about 4,000 children per day.

Watson said the MJUSD curbside meal schedule will run through June 4. The summer session is planned to begin the second week of June, however, they don’t have a finalized meal distribution schedule yet.

Slattery said YCUSD is operating their meal program through the end of the school year and they plan to start the summer feeding program on June 8 – the schedule has not yet been finalized.

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