School district distributes 4K meals per week

School employee Sandy Ronnegard, left, distributes meals to community members at Mt. Eccles Elementary School. (April 7, 2020) Photo by Zachary Snowdon Smith/The Cordova Times

Cordova School District is currently distributing 4,000 meals per week as part of its “grab-and-go” meal program, which commenced March 31.

The number of kids receiving food through the program rose from 300 during the first week to nearly 400 during the second week, said Sandie Ponte, food service manager for the school district. Despite not always receiving the foodstuffs it orders, the district has succeeded in making things run smoothly, she said.

“We’re here to help,” Ponte said. “It’s rewarding to hear how the kids get excited to see their school bag come home. I miss seeing their smiling faces, though.”

Meals are distributed at Mt. Eccles Elementary School on Tuesdays, from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. The service is available to all children 18 and under, regardless of whether they are students with the district. Each “grab-and-go” bag includes fruit, vegetables, milk, and sandwich ingredients, as well as an additional ready-to-heat meal and five complete breakfasts.

School employee Romulo Sison arranges bags of food items. (April 7, 2020) Photo by Zachary Snowdon Smith/The Cordova Times

The program was made possible when the Department of Agriculture waived a rule requiring students to consume meals on school grounds as part of federal food service programs, according to a release from the district. The program is poised to continue until the coronavirus pandemic subsides.

“It seems to be working really smooth, and we’re going to stick with the way we’re doing it now for the foreseeable future,” Ponte said. “We miss our kids desperately and we hope this helps them in some small way.”