Next week school buses will roll once again, but for a
special reason — they will be delivering fresh produce to students at 68 select
elementary campuses as a part of a new produce delivery program.
Fresh Bus school buses will provide weekly deliveries of
fresh fruits and vegetables to several locations in each school community,
making fresh produce directly available to more than 36,000 students.
As the school year comes to a close, the Houston Independent
School District is transitioning from its community food distribution efforts
to a curbside summer meals program for students.
Beginning June 1, families will be able to pick up boxed
student meals twice a week on Mondays and Thursdays at one of 68 designated schools across
the district. Boxes may be picked up by students, parents, or other adult
Each box will contain a day’s worth of meals, including breakfast, lunch, dinner, and a snack. Families will receive several days’ worth of food — three boxes on Mondays and four on Thursdays — per child at each pickup.
Food distribution efforts led by the Houston Independent School District in partnership with the Houston Food Bank will continue Saturday at NRG Stadium and throughout next week at 25 campuses around the district.
Saturday’s event at NRG is the fourth mass community food
distribution. The site is expected to distribute 8,500 food packages. The site will be open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Food distribution efforts led by the Houston Independent School District in partnership with the Houston Food Bank will continue this Saturday at NRG Stadium and throughout next week at 25 campus sites throughout the district.
The Saturday event
at NRG is the third mass community food distribution. The site is expected to distribute 10,000
food packages — each weighing 80 to 100 pounds — in about five hours. To accommodate
the increase, the site will open from 2 to 7 p.m.
Business Operations Customer Care Team Leader Johnetta
Branch has a new three-step routine when she arrives at her office — put on her
face mask, sanitize her hands, and have her temperature checked.
The district may be closed, she said, but there are still
employee and parent questions to be answered, payrolls to be processed,
maintenance requests to be filed, purchases to track, and fire and burglar
alarms to monitor.
“Fifty-six of us used to come in every day, but many are
parents and with schools and daycares closed, they aren’t able to come in,”
Branch said. “So now it’s five people working at one time to accomplish the
same tasks. I’m here to do whatever needs to be done.”
Construction at Lamar High School is continuing, as
allowable under the public health guidelines, with renovations to the original
building now 80 percent complete.
The renovation work, designed to preserve the building’s historically
significant architecture, included the construction of a new child care wing,
welcome center, and updated ROTC and Career and Technical Education classrooms.
The athletic fields — including football, baseball,
softball, soccer practice fields — and tennis courts also are underway.
Construction at the new Scarborough Elementary School is
steadily progressing, despite the district being closed due to the COVID-19
Work on the campus has continued, as allowable under the public
health guidelines, with a reduction of the workforce to adhere to social
The $23 million project is tracking at 94 percent
completion, with site work, paving, underground utilities, structural steel, roofing,
interior wall systems, and mechanical, electrical, and plumbing installation
complete. Exterior wall systems and interior finishes are ongoing.
When Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan arrived at the
HISD Hexser T. Holliday Food Service Center, she was eager to tour facility
operations, but precautions had to be taken first.
Upon entering the facility, her temperature was taken just
footsteps inside the door — a safety precaution and clear sign of the times as
the world endures the COVID-19 pandemic.
“In the weeks since our district closed, we’ve worked hard
to meet the needs of our community,” Lathan said. “This visit is a great
opportunity to get an up-close look at how the entire food distribution process
Feeding more than 10,000 families five days a week during a
pandemic is no easy task. It’s an effort that requires the collaboration of
multiple departments across the district to bring it all together.
In just over a month, HISD — working together with the
Houston Food Bank — has distributed 2 million pounds of food to more than
60,000 families. That range spans from March 14 through April 18.
“I appreciate the spotlight we’ve received, but it’s not
just us,” HISD Nutrition Services Officer Betti Wiggins said, referencing the
child nutrition department she leads. “We couldn’t have accomplished this
without the help of Community Partnerships and HISD Police.”
With most of the country shut down in an attempt to flatten the COVID-19 curve, HISD’s Construction Services — designated an essential service — is continuing to work on school construction across the district.
HISD Construction General Manager Andreas Peeples said
construction is expected to continue as allowable under public health
guidelines but noted that required public health measures are affecting normal
“We must comply with requirements that individuals must remain
at least six feet from any other person,” Peeples said. “This is important, but
it does result in inefficiencies in mobilizing labor and materials and a
general reduction in labor forces.”