The Long Beach Unified School District is handing out three meals per day, every Monday through Friday, to school district students in an effort to help them and their families through the coronavirus pandemic.
LBUSD regularly feeds most of its students — those whose families qualify as low income — free breakfast and lunch. When campuses were shut down, the meal delivery continued, with families coming to schools to pick up the food.
On Monday, May 4, the district added supper to the distribution. The three meals are handed out together, in a one-hour span from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. five days a week.
In order to receive the free meals, parents or guardians must head to a participating school with their children, or have proof that their child or children are LBUSD students. Options for breakfast, lunch and dinner are updated every week, with items that range from cereal and fruit to burritos, chicken, pizza and sandwiches.
"It's good that word is getting out about this," Scott Fleming, principal at Luther Burbank Elementary School, said. "We're just glad that we're able to support our students and their families when things aren't easy for them right now."
School district employees prepare and pack the meals daily for distribution the following morning. All meal packets include instructions if items need to be heated in a microwave or oven, and include milk and juice.
People picking up meals must keep a safe social distance from peers, wear face coverings and refrain from visiting campuses if sick.
And to make picking up meals more enjoyable, organizers ask students and families to dress up in fun, themed attire. Friday, May 8, is "crazy hat day," and the following Monday, June 10, is "college spirit day," where people can wear attire representing their favorite colleges and universities.
With more than 300,000 meals handed out to date, Fleming said that he's happy with the meal system so far.
"A lot of what we're doing right now is focusing on outreach to our families to make sure that they're aware of all of the changes that are happening on a weekly basis," Fleming said. "The meal program is working out well and people are happy to use it."
The schools offering all three meals include Addams Elementary School (256 E. Plymouth St.), Birney (710 W. Spring St.), Bixby Elementary (5251 E. Stearns St.), Luther Burbank (501 Junipero Ave.), Cesar Chavez (730 W. Third St.), Dooley (5075 Long Beach Blvd.), Garfield ( 2240 Baltic Ave.), Gompers (5206 Briercrest Ave.), Grant (1225 E. 64th St.), Harte (1671 E. Phillips St.), Nieto Herrera (1620 Temple Ave.), Starr King (145 E. Artesia Blvd.), Lafayette (2445 Chestnut Ave.), Lincoln (1175 E. 11th St.), McKinley (6822 Paramount Blvd.), Oropeza (700 Locust Ave.), Whittier (1761 Walnut Ave.), Riley (3319 Sandwood St.), Roosevelt (1574 Linden Ave.), Signal Hill (2285 Walnut Ave.), Willard (1055 Freeman Ave.) Bobbie Smith (565 E. Hill St.), Webster (1755 W. 32nd Way) and Mark Twain Elementary schools (5021 E. Centralia St.).
Middle schools serving three meals per day are Lindbergh (1022 E. Market St.) and Washington Middle School (1450 Cedar Ave). The only high school participating is Avalon High School (200 Falls Canyon Rd).
Seven other schools will continue to offer breakfast and lunch, but not dinner, during the same time frame, 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m, Mondays through Fridays. Those schools are Emerson Parkside Academy (2625 Josie Ave.), Gant Elementary School (1225 E. 64th St.), Henry Elementary (3720 Canehill Ave.), Hughes Middle School (3846 California Ave.), MacArthur Elementary School (6011 Centralia St.), Marshall Academy of the Arts (5870 E. Wardlow Rd.) and Rogers Middle School (365 Monrovia Ave).
Stephanie Stutzman can be reached at email@example.com.