Dozens of Nutrition Services employees gathered by black tents as cars snaked through the parking lot at Barnett Stadium – a Neighborhood Supersite where families can pick up student meals, family food boxes, and household supplies.
But this Wednesday, the team was surprised with a proclamation from Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner designating Friday, May 7, 2021 as HISD National School Lunch Hero Day.
“Today, we celebrate Nutrition Services employees,” Interim Co-Chief Operating Officer Eugene Salazar said as he presented the proclamation. “This proclamation acknowledges your outstanding achievements and unwavering dedication to families and students in our community.”
First-grader Nidarshani Chinthagunta gasped and her eyes widened as a bright turquoise bike adorned with white balloons was wheeled into the T.H. Rogers conference room where she stood sandwiched between her mother and school principal.
Grabbing the 20-inch Titan Tomcat by the seat and handlebars, she carefully eyed the new bike as she whispered a shy, “thank you.”
Nidarshani was one of two grand prize winners in the district’s “Blast Off with a Healthy School Breakfast” art contest held in honor of National School Breakfast Week in March.
More than 60 students submitted original artwork using the breakfast theme. A panel of judges from the district’s Nutrition Services and Fine Arts departments selected the top winners at the elementary and secondary levels.
As students begin to think about the future, Nutrition Services Culinary Educator Brittany Jones is working to ensure they’re equipped with a key ingredient for success — the basics of cooking.
Chef Jones is one of two educators who teach “Get Growing Houston” classes at Attucks Middle School and Worthing Early College High School. The 10-week classes were piloted at the schools to help students learn the importance of good nutrition and the fundamentals of cooking.
A steady wind churned gray clouds across the sky as dozens of HISD families lined up Thursday outside the Chestnut Hill Apartments office, waiting to pick up student meals for their children.
HISD’s Nutrition Services regularly delivers to this Southwest Houston apartment complex — and 24 others — to provide meals to virtual learning students whose families can’t get to curbside distributions.
With students back in class after winter break, Nutrition Services is re-starting its weekly Neighborhood Supersite community distribution program to ensure HISD students and families have continued access to good food.
The January supersites will kick off on Wednesday, Jan 6, at Barnett Stadium from 2 to 6 p.m. Another three supersites will be held from 2 to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 9 at Hattie Mae White and Hexser T. Holliday Food Services support centers and Sugar Grove Academy.
All sites provide seven days’ worth of student meals and family food boxes from the Houston Food Bank.
Lunchtime for Tracey Crawley’s first-grade class looks a bit different these days.
Instead of eating in a bustling cafeteria, the Gregory-Lincoln Education Center students now have lunch delivered directly to their classroom. Though different, it’s something the students still look forward to — especially on chicken nuggets day.
“It’s like second nature now,” Crawley said about her students’ new lunch model and safety protocols. “The atmosphere is set for them. The food is always on time. Our team has done a great job in making it an easy process.”
For a lot of families, the holiday table doesn’t feel complete without a turkey as its centerpiece.
Nutrition Services will be able to provide that holiday hallmark — and a little extra holiday cheer — for up to 5,000 HISD families thanks to a partnership with and generous donation from No Kid Hungry, a nonprofit organization that aims to end child hunger.
Up to 5,000 turkeys will be distributed to Houston families just ahead of HISD’s winter break during Neighborhood Supersites scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 12 and Wednesday, Dec. 16. The turkeys are funded by an $80,000 donation from No Kid Hungry.
As the district prepares to close its doors for Thanksgiving, Nutrition Services is ramping up efforts to ensure all students have access to healthy food during the week-long break, which kicks off Monday, Nov. 23.
All campus curbside pickup locations will offer seven
days’ worth of student meals on Thursday, Nov. 19 — the final campus curbside
pickup date prior to Thanksgiving break. Typically, campus curbside pickups
offer three to four days’ worth, but not a week’s worth.
Additionally, a third Neighborhood Supersites will be held
at Sugar Grove Academy on Saturday, Nov. 21 — the final community distribution
before Thanksgiving. The new location is in addition to two existing
distribution sites on Saturdays and one on Wednesdays.
As in-person instruction continues across HISD, Nutrition
Services has partnered with teachers and other campus workers to create a safe
and healthy environment for students to be well-fed and ready to learn.
The department has created health and safety protocols to
ensure safety and curb the spread of COVID-19. District students are served
breakfast and lunch. Individual campuses can choose either the classroom or
cafeterias for lunchtime, depending on the needs of each school.
Steps include washing or sanitizing hands and sanitizing
tables before meals, as well as requiring masks and physical distancing for all
students and staff. Meals are individually wrapped, and students are seated in
designated areas to allow for distancing and staggered arrangements.