Over 83 percent of children across Coachella Valley's school districts qualify for free and reduced lunch. While students are distance learning, the Desert's Regional Food Bank, FIND Food Bank is helping children receive the food they need.
"Food insecurity is something our families struggle with every day," school administrative assistant at Painted Hills Middle School in Desert Hot Springs, Rebecca Moreno told News Channel 3.
Robert Bell, a father of two relies on food from FIND Food Bank to help feed his family during the pandemic.
"Things are kind of challenging right now and so having a place where we can get a little boost; I think it's really helpful to the community, especially here in Desert Hot Springs," he said.
FIND Food Bank visits nine Coachella Valley schools to serve the community at food distributions.
"There are no words to describe how much help this partnership has been for our students, families and the community," Moreno said.
The pandemic brought on extra challenges. Feeding America projects that there is a 65 percent increase in childhood food insecurity compared to those served in 2018 in Riverside County.
"If this was a normal school year our kids would be relying on our free breakfast and free lunch and even a summer program," Moreno said.
"The district is still handing out food every week which is amazing but this helps bridge the gap for what they're not getting from us," school office specialist at Painted Hills Middle School, Rebecca Hutson told News Channel 3 while at the food distribution.
FIND Food Bank is able to reach children and families that are food insecure and provide them the necessities they need for a healthy meal.
"The boxes we provide them with have fruits and vegetables, dairy, protein, grains, canned food. It's just a complete variety of food," Moreno said.
"The quality of the food is super so it really helps out," Bell said. "It's not leftover stuff and so it helps us to feel uplifted," he added.
This food from FIND Food Bank goes a long way.
"To me, what I think is one of the most important things is giving the food to the students helps them not have to worry about being hungry so they can focus on school," Hutson shared.
"We're just thankful to FIND Food Bank for everything they do to support us," Moreno said. "I know everyone is struggling right now and just the fact that we can count on them and their support means the world to us," she added.
There were 276 families served at FIND Food Bank's Painted Hills Middle School distribution site on October 26.
To find a food distribution site near you visit FIND's website: https://www.findfoodbank.org/