Many kids and their parents rely on school lunches to keep students fed during the week. Since the schools remain closed, staff in the nutrition services department with Desert Sands Unified School District are remaining on the front lines to make sure kids are fed during these difficult times. Mary Perry, the public information officer with DSUSD, said, "Some of these children, these are the only meals they get every day. They get breakfast and they get lunch when they're at school and that could be it."
Dilia Kepley, a food prep technician for central kitchen, said, "It makes us feel really good because we know that there's a lot of students that aren't able to eat when they're not at school. So we want to make sure they are getting some nutritious meals right now."
Last week, the nutrition team distributed over 45,000 meals to families. This week, those numbers climbed to over 74,000.
George Thomas, one of the nutritional service assistants, said, "You're not really knowing who you're going to feed, how many kids need it. So you're just working, using your 8 hours, and doing the best you can." Francine Martinez, another nutritional service assistant, added, "Makes me feel happy to do things for the kids because I'm all about helping the kids."
Thousands of these meals are packaged together in the central facility in Indio. From there, they are loaded on to trucks and distributed throughout ten different schools.
The parents picking up lunches are very appreciative of all the hard work of the nutrition team. One parent, Marisela, said, "Blessings to them all for trying their best every day to help us parents and schools." Dolores, another parent, said, "That's a good job for what they're doing. It's really helpful."
"When you think about a school district and serving the youth, we always know how incredible our teachers are and our administrative staff. But sometimes we don't realize all the people who are behind all of that. And you know, a student who is hungry is not going to learn" said Perry.
News Channel 3's Taban Sharifi will have more on these Neighborhood Heroes at 6 p.m.
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