As public and government institutions, including schools, continue to suspend operations in an attempt to fight the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, many families were left to worry about how they would receive essential services like school lunches for children.
Santa Clarita families can take that burden off their mind as the School Day Cafe, a free or reduced school lunch program from the Santa Clarita Valley School Food Services Agency, will provide free meals to all students until April 3.
School Day Cafe will offer one free lunch to all students 18 years old and younger, regardless of whether they qualify for the reduced lunch program. From noon to 2 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, families can participate in a drive-up lunch service at their central kitchen. Then, on school days between March 23 and April 3, School Day Cafe will drop off lunches to schools to be distributed through a drive-up service by the school cafeteria managers from noon to 1 p.m.
“Parents will be able to just drive up or come up to the school to get the lunches, and there’s no need for the children to get out of the cars,” said Robert Lewis, CEO of School Day Cafe. “We’re planning on having food for the next two weeks, but we are currently not planning for spring break and the students are supposed to return to school after that. We’ll need to come up with a plan if this extends longer than that.”
School Day Cafe is working on a menu with their staff dietician that will be posted to their website, and while they are trying to accommodate dietary needs as much as possible, resources are scarce.
“We’re usually only stocked for two days and now we’re competing for resources with other school districts, and we don’t have a list of which students have what allergies at what school,” Lewis said. “We’re working with our registered dietician to try to ensure that the students get the same nutritious meals that they’re accustomed to eating. Our goal is to provide healthy meals to our students just like they get every other school day.”
The lunch menu will be posted on schooldaycafe.org when it is finalized. The School Day Cafe is located at 25210 Anza Drive. The locations for lunch pickup from March 23 to April 23 are listed below.
Santa Clarita Elementary – 27177 Seco Canyon Road, Saugus.
Cedarcreek Elementary – 27792 Camp Plenty Road, Canyon Country.
Rio Vista Elementary – 20417 Cedarcreek St., Canyon Country.
Newhall Elementary – 24607 Walnut St., Newhall.
Peachland Elementary – 24800 Peachland Ave., Santa Clarita.
Wiley Canyon Elementary – 24240 W. La Glorita Circle, Newhall.
Dr. J. Michael McGrath Elementary – 21501 Deputy Jake Drive, Newhall.
Canyon Springs Community Elementary – 19059 Vicci St., Santa Clarita.
Mitchell Community Elementary – 16821 Goodvale Road, Canyon Country.
Live Oak Elementary – 27715 Saddleridge Way, Castaic.
Northlake Hills Elementary – 32545 Ridge Rte Road, Castaic.