Facing hundreds of cars in a line that stretched down the street
and around the block, it would have been easy for Nutrition Services staff
overwhelmed at their first neighborhood supersite in southeast
But for a department known for its dedication to keeping families fed
and well-nourished, it was all in a day’s work on Wednesday — the launch of
weekly community food distributions.
Hosted through a partnership with the Houston Food Bank, the supersites
provide a place where Houstonians can go each week to pick up 32-pound family
food packages and a week’s worth of student meals.
As the district prepares to resume in-person learning this month, Nutrition Services is transitioning from daily to twice-weekly curbside pickup for student meals and launching two Neighborhood Supersites as part of a weekly community food distribution initiative.
The move to
twice-weekly campus-based curbside pickup begins Monday, Oct. 12 thanks to a
waiver from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. It allows families to pick up
several days’ worth of meals at each pickup — three on Mondays and four on Thursdays.
Supersites are designed to provide standing times and locations where the
community can pick up 32 pounds of groceries — including produce, dairy, and
meat — for their families, as well as a week’s worth of student meals.
Nutrition Services Chef Trainer Brittany Jones is used to teaching others how
to prepare tasty, nutritious meals. Now she’ll get to share her expertise with
others around the state thanks to a virtual learning seminar.
Jones recently visited Texas A&M University where she filmed culinary demonstrations to be included in virtual lessons for the Learn, Grow, Eat, and Go program offered by Texas AgriLife Extension’s Junior Master Gardener program.
Learn, Grow, Eat, and Go curriculum is used in select HISD elementary science classes to teach students about gardening, nutrition, and physical activity to promote long-term health. Nutrition Services hopes to share the new virtual lessons, which complement the in-person curriculum, all HISD elementary teachers via science curriculum coordinators.
A group of Windswept Gardens Apartments residents made their way
through the complex’s tree-lined central courtyard, which sits just a few
hundred yards from the speeding cars and unending traffic of the Southwest
Clad in face masks and carefully keeping their distance from each
other, the families gathered around a blue tent where HISD’s Nutrition Services
staff were handing out student summer meals in the afternoon sun.
The district has long offered a free summer meal program for
students throughout the greater Houston community. In previous years, children
would come to local schools to eat. But the COVID-19 pandemic changed the game,
prompting Nutrition Services to look for innovative and safe ways to feed kids
without a cafeteria.
Independent School District, in partnership with the Houston Food Bank, is
hosting mass community food distributions on in August at NRG Stadium.
Services staff are expected to distribute 5,000 food packages as well as 5,000
packages of student meals. The family food packages will have up to 60 pounds
of food, while each student meals package will contain a week’s worth of breakfast
and lunch meals.
is open from 2 to 7 p.m. on Aug. 14, Aug. 21, and Aug. 28 in the NRG yellow lot.
Attendees must enter via the yellow lot main entrance off South Main Street.
During the final distribution — on Aug. 28 only — families also will receive
school supplies donated by T-Mobile, Reliant, and Kroger.
Nutrition Services received top honors for its school-based
initiatives and ongoing community outreach in Food Management magazine’s 2020
Best Concept awards competition.
The department was named Editor’s Choice Best Concept Awards
Best of Show for their efforts to feed families during the COVID-19 pandemic,
expand salad bars to all campuses, and launch a food literacy program to help
students understand the importance of living a healthy lifestyle.
The magazine also highlighted the department’s Good Food
campaign, which calls for all students to have access to nutritious food that
is flavorful, colorful, wholesome, and locally sourced, and recognized the team
for successfully converting from third-party management to self-operating
Beginning Monday, the Houston Independent School District will deliver a weeks’ worth of student meals directly to three apartment complexes with large concentrations of students in the Wheatley High School feeder pattern.
Offered through Nutrition Services Houston Eats catering
service, the delivery service will be provided through August as a complement
to the district’s curbside summer meals program.
The program is open to students who are between the ages 1
to 18 and live in the apartment complexes where the food is being delivered.
Participants do not have to be enrolled in HISD schools.
Seven sites to provide food for students and families in
partnership with Houston Food Bank
When the Houston Independent School District reopens its curbside summer meals program on Monday, July 20, it will do so with 12 sites strategically located throughout the city.
Seven of those locations will be operated in partnership
with the Houston Food Bank, allowing families to pick up several days’ worth of
student meals as well as packages of produce — and other food items when
available — for families.
HISD Nutrition Services previously operated several dozen
smaller sites but streamlined operations to maximize resources in areas with
the most need and reduce staff needed on site as COVID-19 cases continue to rise
across the city.