No bread on store shelves, no creamer, little butter and one lone 6-pack of macaroni and cheese sits by itself before a shopper snatches it up and guards it in her cart.

Not only are some groceries and household staple items hard to come by through local retailers, citizens are encouraged to stay in their homes and prevent community spread of the coronavirus.

Copperas Cove ISD Director of Child Nutrition and Warehouse Services Melissa Bryan is determined to ensure that all district students and even children outside the district have food to eat not only Monday through Friday, but also on the weekend.

On Friday, March 27, Copperas Cove ISD began offering Five Pack Friday where students picked up not only their breakfast and lunch for the day but additional meals to last them throughout the weekend. The district prepared a total of 2,400 meals and ran out. Nutrition staff when back into the school cafeteria and made an additional 200 meals for families to pick up later that afternoon.

“During this time of uncertainty about if you will be able to find the items you need for your family, that is where CCISD Child Nutrition steps in. Knowing times are a little tough right now we are able to fill in the gap for the families in our community. That is what CCISD and Copperas Cove are all about,” Bryan said. “We know how important it is for kids to continue to eat the healthy meals they get when school is in session, and we want to make sure that even though the COVID-19 is causing all sorts of issues for families, providing food and making sure kids have what they need is one less thing for families or the kids to worry about.”

CCISD began providing both breakfast and lunch for students along with academic in-home support on Tuesday, March 17. During the first week, the district served more than 3,000 meals.

All meals meet federal requirements and include a protein, grain, fruit, vegetable and milk. The district is now averaging more than 1,000 meals per day Monday-Thursday with 2,600 meals prepared for Friday and the weekend.

Jamie Ibarra and his wife, Cecilia, have two boys in the school district. Ibarra says he brings his sons to pick up meals each day because it helps give them a sense of normalcy.

“It’s stressful enough for them not being in a school environment and this helps with that aspect,” Ibarra said. “Of course, we have explained why (out of school), but taking them to pick up their lunch helps to fill a void left from being taken out of school so promptly abruptly.”

On Fridays, when students pick up their lunches, they receive a larger bag that includes lunch for Friday, and breakfasts and lunches for both Saturday and Sunday, each individually bagged and labeled so it is easy for children to continue their healthy eating habits.

The school district also partners with the City of Copperas Cove to ensure the senior citizen population is protected from community-spread of the virus while still having nutritional meals each day. Copperas Cove ISD Child Nutrition Department staff is preparing nearly 600 meals per day for senior citizens, with additional meals for both Saturday and Sunday, and the CCISD Transportation Department employees deliver the meals.

“Never should kids or our elderly have to worry about where their next meals are coming from. This is why we do want we do in the do in the nutrition department,” Bryant said. “We will continue our daily outreach to feed and support our families through this difficult time.”

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