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NUSD continues to offer free meals to aid community

The above image was posted on the Novato Unified School District Facebook page and describes the locations and meal plans.

On Mar. 16, the NUSD Food and Nutritional Services (FANS) department started to distribute free meals to students 18 years of age or younger from either a drive-through or walking pick-up. 

Meals are available at Hill Education Center and Hamilton School Monday through Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

“I think we’ve had a great response to the meals,” Superintendent Kris Cosca said. “We started out serving about 350. That quickly climbed up to 850 where it stabilized. The response is so strong that we decided to continue serving meals over spring break at the same two locations.”

On April 10, Lynwood Elementary School and Loma Verde Elementary School were also stationed for meal pick-ups. Then on April 25, the Olive school area (not the school site)  also opened to distribute meals from walk-ups. For these three locations, meals are available from 11:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

“Our FANS department needed to file a USDA waiver with the state to operate our sites as a feeding site,” FANS director Cody Williams said. “The two new additions were based on needs and requests.”

NUSD FANS organized the assistance of community partners. They were originally partnered with the San Francisco Marin Food Bank. The organization has two locations: one in San Francisco and another in San Rafael.

“We actually currently are not working with the food banks directly,” Williams said. “We are providing a similar service to make sure the community have access to fresh meals during these times and the food bank is doing something similar with groceries. Currently due to the size of our FANS staff we are able to do our own self op.”

Due to COVID-19, more volunteering opportunities have opened to help distribute meals to people who don’t have access to food. The SF-Marin Food Bank reported that 19% of the population in Marin were at risk of food insecurity, meaning that 52 million meals would be needed to feed everyone three times a day for a whole year.

“I think there are so many challenges that families are facing through this difficult time that it is great that NUSD can reduce some of their worries about one basic human need for their children,” Cosca said. “Food insecurity is a challenge in Marin County when things are going well. It is even more compounded now. I would encourage someone interested in helping out in the community to reach out to the San Francisco Marin Food Bank or North Marin Community Services to see if they have volunteer options that they might be interested in.”

Reiko Suzuki is an junior and one of the duties for the features page. One of her hobbies is drawing. Her favorite thing to do during her free time is spend time with her pets.

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