Category Archives: Food Services

HISD launches new programs to build on success of community food distribution

As the school year wraps up, the Houston Independent School District is revving up its nutrition outreach efforts with the launch of curbside summer meals for students and the Fresh Bus produce delivery program.

The programs come on the heels of the district’s successful community food distribution initiative, which ran for nine weeks following HISD’s closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Coordinated by HISD in partnership with the Houston Food Bank, the program, provided nearly 7 million pounds of food to more than 160,000 families during that time.

“When everything around us was shutting down due to the pandemic, it became essential for us to be there for our students and their families,” HISD Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan said. “I’m proud of the hard work and dedication that went into this effort. Remarkably, we were able to impact so many families.”

The district is aiming to build upon that success with the launch if it’s annual and state-mandated summer meals program, which begins June 1. Families will be able to pick up packaged student meals twice a week on Mondays and Thursdays at one of 71 designated schools across the district. Families will receive several days’ worth of food per child.

HISD Meal Programs At a Glance
Summer Meals HISD Curbside Summer Meals
  • Begins June 1
  • Pick up on Mondays and Thursdays at 71 schools
  • Meals are free to ages 1-18
  • Proof of enrollment or birth certificate required for children not in the vehicle
  • Participating schools available at HoustonISD.org/SummerMeals
Fresh Bus Produce Delivery
  • Program runs through July
  • Daily delivery to rotating community locations
  • Produce is free for families at 68 designated schools
  • Participating schools and rotating delivery sites available at HoustonISD.org/FreshBus
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HISD school buses to deliver fresh fruits and veggies directly to students each week

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.

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HISD transitioning to student summer meals program on June 1

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 family members.

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.

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Facility tour showcases how Nutrition Services is mobilizing to safely feed families

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 begins.”

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HISD Community Partnerships, HISD Police Department play key roles in food distribution

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.”

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New food distribution sites identified for week of April 27

The Houston Independent School District will continue operating food distribution sites, with another 25 sites operating throughout the district during the week of April 27.

The food distribution efforts will continue utilizing Nutrition Services staff to pack food bags at the Hexser T. Holliday Food Services Support Facility and deliver the food to the distribution sites. Each site can distribute up to 500 bags — or 15,000 pounds of food — per day.

HISD, Houston Food Bank plan second mass food distribution at NRG on Saturday

As families arrive at sites, nutrition staff will minimize contact by filling out the required Emergency Food Assistance Program forms for families and placing food in their trunks. Participants who walk to the sites also must adhere to social distancing requirements.

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HISD, Houston Food Bank plan second large-scale community food distribution at NRG on Saturday

The Houston Independent School District is partnering with the Houston Food Bank to organize a second mass food distribution site on Saturday, April 25 from 4 to 7 p.m. at NRG Stadium.

Distribution will be held in the NRG yellow lot, and attendees must enter via the yellow lot main entrance off South Main Street. The site is expected to distribute 5,000 food packages — each weighing 80 to 100 pounds — in about three hours. That’s the equivalent of roughly half a million pounds of food.

HISD’s first mass community distribution site was held last Saturday and distributed more than 280,000 pounds of food to 4,256 cars and 450 families on foot.

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Wiggins to participate in COVID-19 K-12 webinar

HISD Nutrition Services Officer Betti Wiggins will share her experiences regarding emergency community feeding during a webinar sponsored by food service publications.

Wiggins will participate in a panel discussion to explore how school districts are utilizing different methods to provide nutritious meals through the COVID-19 pandemic. The “K-12 Child Nutrition: Serving students and families during COVID-19” webinar will be held at 1 p.m. Tuesday, April 21.

The webinar is sponsored by the editorial teams of Nation’s Restaurant News, Restaurant Hospitality, and Food Management magazines. She will be joined by Minneapolis Public Schools Director of Culinary and Wellness Services Bertrand Weber and Londonderry School District Director of Dining Services Amanda Venezia.

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HISD, Houston Food Bank distribute over 280,000 pounds of food Saturday at NRG

When HISD Nutrition Services Senior Operations Manager Keith Lewis drove up to NRG Stadium Saturday for the massive food distribution effort, he wasn’t nervous. He was excited.

As he walked up to NRG Stadium’s yellow parking lot site and saw cars wrapped around the block, his excitement grew.

“I knew we had a team of Nutrition Services employees that were going to show up and rock it,” Lewis said. “It’s what we do every single day.”

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HISD food distributions a team effort to feed families in need

When Brenda Williams learned that the Houston Independent School District was closing due to COVID-19, her first thought was whether she would have enough food to feed her three grandchildren without school meals.

Williams previously received help from a local church, but that option became unavailable due to the pandemic. Now, Williams visits the district’s food distribution sites. The process, she said, is easy. She pulls up, pops her trunk, and the groceries are placed right inside.

“I appreciate what they’re doing, extending their hand to help,” Williams said, noting that staff are always helpful and the line moves fast. “It comes in handy during these times of need. Food on the table is better than no food on the table.”

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