The Patterson Joint Unified School District Nutrition Services Department has dished out over 600 thousand free meals since the pandemic shut-down last spring. According to PJUSD Nutrition Services Manager, Lori Hay, the curbside meals have been handed out to students and community members under the age of 19, free of charge. “As essential workers, we have continued to work daily to make this happen, including summer,” said Hay. Members of the community have been treated to hot meals Monday through Friday since the state first released its guidance for schools to implement distance learning and meal delivery services last March, and continued through summer into the new school year.
Since Nov. 6, PJUSD Nutrition Services was able to add weekend meals for families to take home every Friday. This means that two day supplies of breakfast and lunch are being handed out along with a warm meal for that day.
The PJUSD Nutrition Services staff hasn’t skipped a beat since the return of students at the end of last month. “On November 30th our elementary kitchens began serving free onside grab n’ go breakfast and lunches to those TK-2nd grade students that have begun the blended model of returning to school,” said Hay.
Starting last Wednesday, Dec. 2, curbside meals have been changed to Wednesdays only at Patterson High, Creekside and Grayson Elementary. These pickups will include seven days worth of breakfast, lunches, and a gallon of milk. Entrees like teriyaki and honey mustard chicken and rice, beef hamburgers, ground turkey empanadas, and chicken parmesan burgers highlighted the lunch specials that were given out last week. Breakfast included items like blueberry waffles, Cocoa Puffs cereal, strawberry Pop Tarts, and mozzarella stuffed cheesy bread. All entrees were accompanied by fresh fruit and vegetables like apples, oranges, and fresh broccoli florets. Some of next week’s entrees will include barbeque chicken breasts, thighs, wings and drumsticks, home-style macaroni and cheese, and pulled pork nachos. “This food has been great to our family. Between helping the kids with school and trying to manage my work it’s helped alleviate some stress knowing that I’m able to drive down to the high school and pick up food for them,” said one parent after picking up her weekly supply of meals.
Hay said that she’s satisfied with the work and attitude her staff has had while executing the curbside meal services. “I am certainly proud of what our staff accomplishes daily. It is a blessing to have a motivated cafeteria team with a ‘make it happen’ outlook on the meals we have been able to prepare for our Patterson families.”
Members of the community can drive out to Patterson High School, Creekside, or Grayson Elementary on Wednesdays from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. to pick up their weekly meals.