The Poway Unified School District announced Friday it would begin consolidating its free meal services starting Monday to reduce interaction between parents, children and providers.
This follows Gov. Gavin Newsom’s shelter-in-place order last night, which orders all Californians to remain home unless engaged in vital services such as grocery shopping, caring for a loved one and working at essential jobs.
Poway Unified School District will be open from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday, offering both lunch and breakfast together.
“This decision was based on feedback from our families, as well as the data collected from the actual number of meals distributed this week,” school district officials said in a statement.
These meals are free for anyone 18 or younger or any PUSD Transition student 22 or younger, but the district asked that students needing meals be physically present for an accurate count.
The district will provide the food assistance at 12 sites: Del Norte, Mt. Carmel, Poway, Westview and Rancho Bernardo high schools, Meadowbrook and Twin Peaks middle schools and Los Penasquitos, Midland, Pomerado, Valley and Westwood elementary schools.
Thursday evening, in an effort to keep children fed and healthy amid coronavirus-related school closures, a large group of local health- and children-focused nonprofits launched the San Diego COVID-19 Children’s Fund.
The fund was established to help the county’s most vulnerable families with urgent needs, including food assistance, childcare and remote learning opportunities. Organized by San Diego for Every Child and facilitated by Jewish Family Service of San Diego, the fund is designed to provide a safety net while the county reels from the public health crisis.
According to the organizers of the fund, around 40% of children under 12 in San Diego County are living in poverty, or nearly 200,000 children.
To kickstart the fund, San Diego for Every Child Chair Sara Jacobs announced a donation $500,000, tripling every donation made.
Partners have identified childcare as the first priority, with initial funding going to Child Development Associates and the YMCA Childcare Resource Service to work with families, family childcare centers and other childcare providers countywide. The CDA and YMCA pledged $10,000 each in in- kind administrative services, so that more of the funding can go directly to the community.
Partners in the fund include the Center on Policy Initiatives, Child Development Associates, LISC San Diego, Parent Institute for Quality Education, Jewish Family Service of San Diego, San Diego Grantmakers, San Diego Unified School District, San Diego Workforce Partnership, the YMCA Childcare Resource Service, among others.
San Diego for Every Child has also been facilitating calls and an updated list of resources with direct service providers across the county to coordinate organizations’ response to school closures. To get involved, providers can contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
–City News Service