School districts in North Texas have worked tirelessly from the spring, through the summer and now in the fall, to keep kids fed through the pandemic.
A new partnership in the Cedar Hill Independent School District means the district is fighting hunger in neighborhoods where help is most needed.
"The need is great. By watching the news, or our own households, we see there are kids out there that are not eating. There are families out there that are not working," said Rodney McGee, child nutrition director at Chartwells, the district's new food vendor.
Chartwells responded with Longhorn Lunches to Go, a twice-a-week delivery program to three specific areas.
- The Hanger Apartments, 201 South Clark Road, Cedar Hill, TX 75104
- Legacy of Cedar Hill Apartments, 720 North Joe Wilson Road, Cedar Hill, TX 75104
- Ramsey Park, 1313 High Pointe Lane, Cedar Hill, TX 75104
"We got together and said, 'How can we get these meals to as many students as possible?' So we said, 'Let's get the meal as close as we can to 'em'," McGee said.
"We just wanna be there anyway we can for the scholars, for the families, for the staff and this is a part of that," said Michael Sudhalter, Cedar Hill ISD communications coordinator.
On Mondays and Wednesdays between 10 a.m. - 1 p.m., 3,000 meals a week delivered to the three locations are picked up by families with students learning at home. They get enough breakfast and lunch meals to last the week.
"It helps not have to worry about preparing meals, buying food, having that extra cost. The kids know that they will have food there," said Karen Wiggins who has three children at home and who has picked up meals since March when the coronavirus pandemic shut down schools.
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"If a child can't get his learning because he's hungry, we can provide a meal to help them concentrate on their learning and not their hunger," McGee said.
The Longhorns Lunches to Go program adds to the popular Grab & Go Meals happening at Plummer Elementary and Cedar Hill High School on Mondays and Wednesdays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and now from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. The hours were extended this week to accommodate working parents.
No matter how or where families get the food, one thing stays constant from the team fighting hunger.
"One thing that does not change is we need to show love, compassion and help out folks that are needing help," McGee said.