Westside Community Schools distributed more than 12,000 meals on Monday to students in need of breakfast and lunch.
The district’s schools are closed this week because of the coronavirus outbreak.
The plan to distribute meals had been in the works for about two weeks, said Erin Vik, the district’s director for nutrition services.
Parents lined up at Westbrook Elementary School, near 78th Street and Western Avenue, and Westside Middle School, near 86th and Arbor Streets, to collect meals for their students. The meals were available to any student in the Omaha area, but had a focus on Westside students.
“You’ve got kids relying on the food you put in front of them,” Vik said. “It’s really important and you hear it right now. People are not going to be working and are not going to be able to do things the way they usually do, like go to school. That changes the game plan for everybody as far as, ‘Where are my kids going to get a meal?’ ”
Each student received five breakfasts and five lunches. Breakfast included cereal, oranges and milk. Lunches included sandwich options, yogurt and cheese sticks, fruit, vegetables and milk, as well as some extras like graham crackers.
Funding for the meals came from the Summer Food Service Program, Vik said.
They distributed about 600 care packages at Westbrook Elementary School and nearly 700 at Westside Middle School.
Westside will offer the meals week by week. School has yet to be canceled next week, Vik said, but if it is, they’ll offer meals again on Monday.
Meal distribution in the summer is a little more relaxed, and students are able to interact. Today, Vik said he felt a sense of urgency from some parents.
“Today there were a lot of folks, you could tell, who needed this food,” he said.