Local school districts continue to give out free meals to students

Fresno Unified staff members say they distribute roughly 40,000 meals a day.
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Schools across Central California have been working throughout the pandemic to ensure no student goes hungry.

Even during a normal school year, the demand for free meals is high.

"All of our students eat for free in a normal school year because of the high poverty rate in the district so there's definitely a need," says FUSD food service director Amanda Harvey.

The pandemic has only added to financial challenges for many families, which means the food may be needed now more than ever.

"I think the need has increased with the recent stay-at-home order," says Harvey.

At Fresno Unified, staff members say they distribute roughly 40,000 meals a day and they have extra non-perishable items available, just in case they're needed.

"All of our sites have backup shelf-stable products so if necessary, if they didn't estimate for enough product, they would use shelf-stable packs," says Harvey.

At Clovis Unified, administrators monitor the numbers carefully to make sure they order the right amount.

"It's all site-by-site determination because we have some schools that are feeding 600 to 700 kids and some feeding 50," says Clovis Unified's director of campus catering Robert Schram.

For Clovis Unified, the numbers aren't quite as high as when all kids are in the classrooms.

"We're serving between 7,000 and 8,000 meals a day so there's definitely a need for it. The difference is that's only about 20% of what we normally serve," says Schram.

But they say the food doesn't go to waste.

"We don't know what happens after it leaves but we're not showing any waste on our end of the deal. Most people seem pretty appreciative."

Even after the school year ends, both districts have plans to continue feeding students throughout the summer.
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