School might be out for the holidays, but hunger doesn’t take a break for thousands of children across the country. During this past Thanksgiving holiday, members of the Urban School Food Alliance, Dallas Independent School District (Dallas ISD) and New York City Department of Education (NYC DOE), served meals at select sites to ensure that students continue to receive proper nutrition for their health and wellbeing. Both school districts will also serve meals during the upcoming winter break.
“It’s the right thing to do,” said Michael Rosenberger, chairman of the Alliance and executive director of Food and Child Nutrition Services at Dallas Independent School District. “Just because schools take a break doesn’t mean children have to go without. We owe it to our students to provide them with the daily nourishment that they need.”
Due to financial hardships at home, thousands of students throughout the country depend on school meals for sustenance. Breakfast, lunch and even supper (afterschool meals) not only help young people do well with their studies. School-provided meals may be the only food they would have received all day.
As a result, serving meals during vacations and even natural disasters have now become a standard practice for Alliance districts. Hurricane Irma in 2017, for example, did not stop Miami-Dade County Public Schools from serving meals to its students in a variety of locations.
During spring and summer vacations, Alliance districts participate in the federal summer meals program to serve meals to anyone up to the age of 18. The meals are not only provided at school sites, but at parks and recreation centers as well. In some cases, meals are even served via district food trucks to reach where students gather with friends or for other recreational or educational activities.
The dedicated food service staff of the Urban School Food Alliance, such as those in Dallas ISD and NYC DOE, understand the great responsibility they have to ensure that no child in their district goes hungry and they will go to great lengths in service of the 3.3 million students in their care.