Families Rely On School Districts to Feed Hungry Students During Pandemic

By KCBS All News 106.9FM and 740AM

With school back in session, virtually, many families are relying on school districts to help feed their hungry students during the coronavirus pandemic.

Grab-and-go lunches have been a god-send for Latasha Freitas and her 15-year-old son.

“It’s very, very helpful, especially when you’ve got a hungry teenager,” Freitas said.

The Alameda resident has a positive attitude, despite the bad hand that life has dealt her during the pandemic. She lost her job as a mental health worker when the drug and alcohol rehabilitation center she worked at closed its doors.

“You have to be very humble to have to turn around and go work at Home Depot for less than half of what you made,” Freitas told KCBS Radio. “You have to be very humble for something like that, and that’s rough. I’m making half of what I normally made, and so, groceries are a big issue. This is a very, very helpful program.”

The program, provided by Alameda Unified School District, provides free food for registered students.

“This is one of the biggest needs during the pandemic time, is to feed the children,” said Diane Laviolette, the kitchen manager at Encinal High School.

This summer, the city gave away thousands of food bags, but now families have to have a student enrolled in Alameda's school system to receive the meals.

Laviolette said they could give food supplies to everyone - no questions asked - if the federal government would increase funding for programs like this.

“They have voted on it several times, and just not approved it,” Laviolette added.

In the meantime, grab-and-go meals can be picked up Tuesdays and Fridays at eight locations on the Island.

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