Families supported by grab-and-go lunches at select Canyons schoolsMar 19, 2020 03:12PM ● By Julie Slama
Copperview Elementary Community School Facilitator Jenna Landward hands a 5-year-old student a book to read and keep during the two-week soft closure of schools to prevent the spread of coronavirus. (Julie Slama/City Journals)
By Julie Slama | [email protected]
At Bell View Elementary in Sandy, a line for sack lunches had formed by 11:20 a.m., Monday, March 16.
At that elementary as well as 12 other Canyons District schools, free bagged lunches are available to all students under 18 years of age through March 27.
Schools are not in session during these two weeks, as the state superintendent Sydnee Dickson announced March 13 a soft closure as a precaution to the spread of the coronavirus.
Currently, breakfast in Canyons District is not being served.
Bell View Elementary parent Marcie Cano is appreciative of the efforts Canyons School District is making with their grab-and-go school lunches.
“The lunches are nice for the kids and parents, who already are providing activities and things to do while keeping kids at home,” Cano said, as she brought her four children to get sack lunches offered in front of the school March 16. “It’s one less thing families need to worry about or prepare.”
At Sandy Elementary, parent Katie Bradshaw stepped inside the cafeteria door with her children and nephews to get sack lunches.
“It’s good that they are providing the lunches; our schools are being helpful and trying to be in control of things they can be at this time,” she said.
Sandy Elementary Food Services Manager Debbie Nook said that more children had come for the meal than what was estimated, but the staff quickly made more sack lunches.
“We were told to start with 10, but we had 56 in the first 20 minutes,” she said March 16. “We started with the thawed out ham and turkey at our school and other schools (who weren’t distributing lunches, but had already thawed out the meat) sent theirs over.”
At Midvale Elementary, in addition to ham and turkey sandwiches, the food services staff prepared soy butter sandwiches, and added in chips, oranges, carrots, string cheese and milk.
“We made 251 lunches,” food services manager Sandra Anderson said. “We took 120 to The Road Home (shelter), which we will do every day, and then, had 131 come to school.”
That’s less than the 650 students they feed at lunchtime, but more than the 220 they serve during the summertime.
Midvale STEM brain booster teacher Debora Johnson said that the numbers also included Midvale Middle and Hillcrest High students who may have walked their siblings to the school at lunchtime.
At many schools, such as Bell View and Hillcrest, in addition to lunch distribution, there were food items being distributed to help families in need so they could prepare additional meals.
Hillcrest, as well as Copperview Elementary staff, also were encouraging students to take books to read for enjoyment that were donated or discarded from school libraries.
“We want our students to have access to books while schools and libraries are closed,” said Jenna Landward, Copperview Elementary community school facilitator. “We will have new books available for students every day.”
Copperview, after the first 30 minutes on March 16, had served 70 lunches to students.
At Ridgecrest Elementary in Cottonwood Heights, food service had served 85 lunches March 16 and 77 in the first 50 minutes on March 17.
“We didn’t know how many lunches to start with,” lunch manager Darci Yardley said, adding that the school doesn’t serve students in the summer so they couldn’t use that number for projections. “The principal suggested 50 as a good place to start. Today, we planned for 100.”
The lunches were similar to those at Midvale Elementary: soy butter and jam sandwiches, chips, apples, carrot or broccoli sticks and milk. Turkey sandwiches already had been distributed.
Parent Jason Foerster, who brought his young children in for a sack lunch, said they like coming to the school to get the grab-and-go lunches.
“They keep asking, ‘When are we going to get a burger in the sack lunch?’” he said. “I told them it’s like a sack lunch they get on field trips, but they said the burgers could still be in them, just wrapped up in foil.”
For a listing of locations, see www.canyonsdistrict.org/covid-19.