IRVING, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – It has become a familiar sight at now shuttered schools- lines of vehicles with families waiting to pick up free grab and go meals.
School districts across North Texas now working to help families stretch food budgets while students are confined at home due to coronavirus outbreak restrictions.
“Oh, my goodness! it’s such a blessing, it helps so much,” says Kala Oropeza, a Carrollton-Farmer’s Branch ISD mother. “Especially when you have children, young children who eat every 30 minutes it seems like! So I feel like this is such a big help, and they provide breakfast and lunch and it’s a good blessing.”
Oropeza continued to have a positive, grateful disposition even after learning that staffers at Ranchview High School in Irving, the site of Monday’s distribution, had run out of meals in less than an hour.
“We didn’t expect this many people because we’re kind of out in the middle of nowhere,” says Tracy Talbot, the cafeteria manager at Ranchview High School.
“We were making so many lunches and nobody was picking them up. Now I feel like we are here for a purpose.,” she said. “This is good. This is a good thing. We’re gonna make tons more tomorrow.”
In some regards, the increased demand is not surprising as coronavirus shutdowns enter another week, workers are losing jobs and the economy is in a free fall.
In Cedar Hill, families can now pick up dinner for district students, along with a lunch and the next day’s breakfast.
The Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD distributes five days of meals -breakfasts and lunches- so families won’t have to line up every day.
They’re also serving more of them.
“This has been really great that they’ve been helping out with the kids at home,” says Devon Vu, who adds that the short trip to pick up the week’s meals also allow students a brief respite from being cooped up at home.
A different high school hosts each day’s distribution, but parents are only allowed to pick up one supply of weekly meals and Oropeza promises to be back.