Grab and Go Provides Food, Encouragement

KISD nutrition staff continue to serve meals.
03/19/2020
By: Todd Martin
It’s not just nutritious food and drink Killeen ISD students receive at free breakfast and lunch sites around the school district – there are plenty of smiles and encouraging words, too.
 
At Peebles Elementary School Wednesday, cafeteria staff members recognized that not everyone was clear on the availability of free food and they got to work, fashioning signs that they held in front of the school.
 
That night, school nutrition worker Elizabeth Waite made more durable, laminated signs, which the staff members used Thursday as they danced to music to draw attention.
 
“We have professional signs today,” Waite said. “I made these last night and tonight I’m going to make more.”
 
The school saw participation pass 50 for breakfast and Thursday lunch surpassed 70 with 50 minutes to go for the day, easily on pace to set a record for the third day in a row. The school served 142 lunches Tuesday and 150 Wednesday.
 
The Peebles school nutrition workers danced to the tunes as they held the bright signs and when a car slowed down to turn into the lot, they cheered their success.
 
“A lot of people need assistance and we’re joining together to help,” Waite said. “It’s making a difference. Some didn’t know until they saw our signs. Now they know we’re here for them.”
 
As cafeteria manager Maria Brown handed out bags of sandwiches, fruit and milk, she thanked parents for coming.
 
“The parents here are very thankful,” she said. “You can see it in their faces. There is so much gratitude.”
 
During the breakfast service Thursday, the Peebles crew pulled out umbrellas and continued to stand in front of the school.
 
“We’re trying to motivate them to stop by,” Brown said. “To me, I’m thankful for them to come and respond. They could stay home, but they are choosing to come and participate. We want to break our record every day.”
 
Halfway into the lunch service, several families made their way to the school on foot to the neighborhood school.
 
Southward on W.S. Young Drive, Manor Middle School staff members also used music to motivate their efforts and 115 residents took advantage of the lunch service Thursday.
 
One of them, mother-of-three Yanitzie O’Quendo said her children wanted to go to the school for food. The two elementary students and one middle school students were ready for a diversion, while their mom was ready for a smiling face.
 
“I like it,” said O’Quendo. “They wanted to come yesterday and wanted to come back today. It gets us out of the house. Our KISD employees are on the front lines. This makes my day.”
 
Breakfast continues daily service 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. and lunch from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at 12 KISD schools. Lunch is also available at City Park in Nolanville. Meals are available to students and family members 18 and younger.
 
Grab-and-go breakfast and lunch are available at the following locations:
 
Cedar Valley, Hay Branch, Harker Heights, Oveta Culp Hobby, Peebles, Pershing Park, Reeces Creek, West Ward and Willow Springs elementary schools, Manor and Rancier middle schools and the Shoemaker High School concession stand.
 
Killeen ISD is currently closed through Friday, April 3 with continued learning set to begin Wednesday, March 25.
 
More information is available at https://www.killeenisd.org/covid19
 
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