PAUSD expands free meal service to include deliveries, weekend meals

Dylan Fu, Managing Editor

In an effort to ensure local families and students remain fed during the COVID-19 crisis, Palo Alto Unified School District staff is partnering with local volunteers to expand the district’s existing free meal program to include deliveries and weekend food.

Members of PAUSD’s Student and Family Engagement team teamed up with PAUSD Food Services to deliver hot meals to families without access to transportation to receive meals.

According to Assistant Supt. Yolanda Conway, the program provides one daily meal per student for the entire week.

“We deliver meals five days per week,” Conway stated in a Thursday email to The Paly Voice. “Beginning today, Food Services will be providing enough meals for the weekend, so on Fridays, families will be receiving additional meals to last through the weekend.”

According to Conway, the delivery program is already serving 34 families, with 75 lunches being delivered per day.

A thank-you note posted at one of the households being delivered food as part of PAUSD’s free meal program. According to Assistant Supt. Yolanda Conway, the program is part of an ongoing effort to support families during the COVID-19 crisis. “We are concerned about the well-being of all of our families during this time,” Conway stated. “The provision of meals and the delivery service is just one small way we can support our community.”

The new food delivery system comes as an extension to the pre-existing drive-through program which allows families affected by COVID-19 to get meals from a number of designated locations. In Palo Alto, these locations include Jane Lathrop Stanford Middle School, Gunn High School, and Greene Middle School.

For families who live in East Palo Alto, there are a number of Ravenswood School District sites, including Willow Oaks School, Brentwood Academy, and Costano School. The full list of locations as well as instructions for the drive-through process can be found here.

Measures have also been taken to ensure the safety of both families and staff members during meal deliveries or pickups, according to Conway.

“All personnel are required to wear personal protective equipment,” Conway stated. “In addition, parents are asked to remain in their car and open the trunk so food items can be placed in the trunk. This allows us to maintain social distancing and protect both the staff, students, and families.”

For community members looking to contribute to this effort, Conway recommends donating to the Palo Alto Community Fund.

“We are equipped to serve lunches to all of our families in need,” Conway stated. “We encourage individuals who wish to donate to do so to the Palo Alto Community Fund, which directly benefits our students and families.”

Families interested in the free lunch program can email Conway at [email protected] or Fittoria at [email protected]. For additional food relief resources, visit the Santa Clara County food resources page here.