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Boise School District keeping students fed with mobile school lunch pick up

While local schools are aimed at academics, some students rely on school for nutrition with free or reduced school meals.

BOISE, Idaho — When schools began closing because of the ongoing pandemic, some families were worried their kids might not have enough to eat.

Christy Smith supervises Food and Nutrition Services for the Boise School District. She says they realized kids couldn’t just come in for meals, so they had to bring meals to the students.

“We’ve got a decent population in Boise that are food insecure, these children depend on our meals,” Smith said. “So, we are bringing the meals to the children.”

Monday through Friday, teams work to put together bagged meals together for distribution.

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“I think today it was a ham or turkey and cheese sandwich, with a piece of fruit, a veggie bag, and juice or milk,” Smith said.

Teams load up boxes of meals into vans, and then they are off!

There are more than a dozen spots across the Boise School District where families pick up meals.

“Families are so grateful," Smith said. "They color pictures for us, they yell out the window, ‘thank you so much, we love you.”

Through this, she says the Boise School District staff has been incredible.

“We can’t do anything if we don’t have our staff," Smith said. "Our staff is amazing people, they are well trained. They know food safety, procedures, they know our dietary guidelines."

Heading into the summer, the district plans on keeping the program around.

“We are operating on an emergency feeding program, so we have permission to feed the way we are now through June 30th,” Smith said.

Beyond that, it could be extended.

If not, Smith says they will adopt a new summer feeding program in its place.

“Sometimes this is the only meal they get," she said. "We are very worried about these children and trying to meet their needs."

District officials know some families are reluctant to pick up meals because they feel they might not need it as much as another family.

If your family is in need of even a little help, the district says don’t hesitate.

“Our program runs when we serve meals, and if you feel like this is a benefit to your family and your budget and it will help your kids and get them out of the house, relieve any pressure on your family, I would encourage people to participate,” Smith said.

To learn more about the program, check out The Boise School District COVID-19 resource page here.

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