District food services support students, families

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Erin Kee

Meals are given out via a drive-thru system at the Central Kitchen District Office.

The Sequoia Union High School District (SUHSD) has provided food services for its community since the beginning of the school year to help those heavily affected by the pandemic.

Currently, meals are served at Carlmont High School, Menlo-Atherton High School, and East Palo Alto Academy from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and at the Central Kitchen District Office from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Mondays. Food services are open to all students and children under 18, regardless of whether they’re in the district.

According to the SUHSD food services website, one week’s worth of breakfast and lunch meals are provided every Monday. The department aims to provide nutritious meals for the entire student body.

“A lot of parents lost their jobs, and a lot of hours were cut back, which cuts into rent, food, etc. Our district just decided that we were going to help out to get these families the food and the help they needed during these times,” said Hector Moreno, the food service lead at Carlmont.

We have regulars every week. Probably about 20 families that come in religiously and every week they just express their gratitude.”

— Hector Moreno

The food services have alleviated stress from many families and students. Justin Wong, a senior, has found the service to be beneficial during the school year. 

“Free meals have been really helpful during this time of COVID-19. My parents are often too busy to prepare lunch. It’s also harder to go out to get things like groceries,” Wong said. 

The district considers food allergies and other dietary needs while also meeting federal nutrition standards with their food services. Under their wellness policy, the district hopes to also provide students with opportunities to learn about and practice healthy eating through available foods and beverages. 

While any student can pick up meals on Mondays, there is also a Free and Reduced Meal Program provided by the district. Students can apply to the program and get additional benefits besides free meals. Such benefits include reduced fees for academic tests, internet access, and school funding. 

“I really appreciate having the drive-thrus. I think having school through Zoom exacerbated the opportunity gap, and people who have less access to the internet, technology, and were supported by services offered by the school in person were hit hardest,” said Katie Chen, a senior. “I really value the effort the district is putting into addressing this issue and supporting our students.”

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