HOUSTON – UPDATE: HISD announced Friday, April 3 that it is relaunching its food distribution efforts starting Monday after the district temporarily suspended the program last week.
The Houston Independent School District announced Wednesday night it is canceling the distribution of food that the district has been doing for the past two weeks, as officials ramp up precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The district said they were made aware that an individual present at one of HISD’s Wednesday food distribution sites is now under self-quarantine as a precaution due to potential COVID-19 exposure. As a result, the food distribution sites operated by the district, in partnership with the Houston Food Bank, have been canceled.
While the cancelation is for Thursday and Friday, officials say it “will remain in effect as the district re-evaluates its process for safely delivering this service to students and families.”
“This is a difficult decision to make, but the safety of the community, staff, and volunteers is our top priority,” the district wrote. “We are proud that in the past two weeks we have provided meals for thousands of Houston families when they need it most.”
The district released the following statement in regards to the cancellation:
“We have been made aware that an individual present at one of HISD’s Wednesday food distribution sites is now under self-quarantine as a precaution due to potential COVID-19 exposure. As a result, the food distribution sites operated by the Houston Independent School District in partnership with the Houston Food Bank on Thursday and Friday have been canceled. As a precaution, all volunteers and staff operating the site have been notified and asked to self-quarantine for 14 days. The cancellation of the food distribution sites will remain in effect for the time being as the district re-evaluates its process to determine the best way to provide the service to students and families.”
Many children depend on school meals as their food for the day and missing out could mean going without food. The largest school district in Texas distributed thousands of meals curbside to children and families over a two-week period.
Officials at the YMCA of Greater Houston said that a food distribution event that was scheduled for Thursday has been moved. Officials said they wanted to make sure their resources were being deployed in the proper area.
Although HISD’s distribution sites are canceled, the school district wanted to remind people that there are other options for families in need.
The City of Houston is operating a curbside meal program at 50 community centers around the city.
The free meals are distributed Monday through Friday between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. The meals include lunch and a snack and are available for children and teens up to the age 18.
“Only children who come to the site for pickup can receive the meal," the district reminded. “Parents are not allowed to take food for a child that is not present at the time of pickup.”
Families can also visit HoustonFoodBank.org to find out more places they can go to get food.