Palm Springs Unified School District families are receiving a free box of fresh produce when they pick up their child’s meals for the week.
The program is the result of a partnership helping not only families during the pandemic, but also our local farms. Meal pick-ups take place each Wednesday morning for PSUSD families.
“They get breakfast, lunch and supper,” said Stephanie Bruce, Director of Nutrition Services, PSUSD. Bruce says many families normally rely on these nutritious meals provided by the district throughout the year.
Now, families each receive a cardboard box full of produce such as zucchinis, nectarines, and tomatoes to take home. The produce rotates on a weekly basis depending on what’s available locally.
All families have to do to receive one is show up at any PSUSD meal distribution site with their meal cards provided through school. “We’ve mailed out meal cards to everyone,” explained Bruce.
Bruce says the boxes help families who wouldn’t normally be able to afford fresh produce or those trying to limit trips to the grocery as a protective measure.
“They are so appreciative...I’ve had emailed and phone calls from parents just thanking us,” she said.
Bruce says the program was made possible with the help of local farmer and president of Aziz Farms, Mark Tadros.
“It’s been a winning program for us,” said Tadros. “Not only are they feeding the students they’re feeding the local economy.”
Tadros and Bruce worked together to make sure the cost of the boxes was completely covered by the district’s pre-existing meal budget.
“If I can get something local and keep the money local and keep local families employed then that was kind of a win for all of us,” said Bruce.
And it’s a relationship they say they plan to continue post-pandemic. “We just keep building and building on the concept. Really with Palm Springs Unified, they’re the ones that see this long-term,” said Tadros.