School meal program remains a priority during school closures
Gila River Indian News
When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, forcing many businesses and schools to close, Gila Crossing Community School was on Spring Break. With little time to spare, administrators rushed to ensure they remain in service to students by providing school work and eventual meals to those who would need it.
And while the pandemic continues, the Gila River Indian Community schools have persisted with a school meal program during the COVID-19 school closures.
Just like the other schools, Gila Crossing Community School (GCCS) is taking proactive measures to provide meals to its students and surrounding families.
“It took a few days after spring break, but by the following Wednesday, we began our meal deliveries,” GCCS Superintendent Jim Mosely said. While considering the instructional needs of the students they also factored in the meals that students relied on during a regular school week.
With that in mind, the school formed a distribution system to deliver both school instruction and the breakfast and lunch meals they would typically provide for students.
The school utilized their communication networks, parents/guardians, and families were informed that meals would be distributed along the regular bus routes used by the school.
Principal David Marks stated, “that first week was slow, and we were delivering 800 meals a day [400 breakfasts/400 lunches] to families, but as of April 15 we’re now delivering 1,320 meals a day [660 breakfasts and 660 lunches].”
School has continued the program since March 18, not including Good Friday. Going on a month of service, the staff and faculty feel happy to remain in service to the Community. Mosely and Marks noted that they are in “new territory” as are many institutions that must come up with solutions to continue services.
Although challenging, the COVID-19 pandemic has reaffirmed their commitment to the families and students.
Many times, cars park at the bus stops where the staff delivers the meals to families.
And the reception has been great with families expressing gratitude for the meals. What’s unique is that the meals aren’t exclusive for GCCS students, where anyone under the age of 18 can receive the meal distribution. So, for families with high school youth, the free service is invaluable.
The meal distribution will continue until the end of the regular school year. Pending the continued school closure, they will also continue throughout the normal summer school season.