One resource that you may not have heard of is free lunches. These lunch options are offered at select schools around the Beaverton School District Community. The lunches include a wide variety of nutritious foods that will last for several meals.
I sat down with Nancy Ryles elementary school cafeteria manager, Sue Franco to discuss the change in regards to how the school lunch program operates.
Q: How has your weekly/daily schedule changed?
A: It has changed a lot, we no longer do salad bars at any of the schools, so because of that, we must pre-package our food up whether fruit or vegetables or, even our entrees are now individual serving. It takes a lot more time to do all of that than it used to.
Q: Who is this option opened up to?
A: It is opened up to anyone 1 to 18, it doesn’t matter if you go to that school or not
Q: When are free lunches open?
A: We serve meals every Tuesday and Thursday from 11:00 in the morning to 12:00 at noon. It is only for one hour, that is all regulated by the government so that is the only time that we have.
Q: Has there been a surge of people picking up free lunches versus purchasing lunches in-school?
A: Not at my school, we are serving less meals per day but, many other schools are seeing larger numbers than my school is.
Q: About how many families come to pick up free lunches?
A: At my school, we serve about 110 or so kids each day that would be 110 for breakfast and 110 for lunch as well. We also serve breakfast, it is not just a lunch. Up to date, since the beginning of school we, at my school, have served almost 7,500 meals between breakfast and lunch so, that is quite a bit of meals there.
Q: If a family cannot come to free lunches during the scheduled time, and that is their source of nourishment, how can they receive those lunches?
A: There are some buses that are delivering meals to certain places, I believe that they are going out through the high schools and they will go through mostly apartments around the area. If you can’t make that, they are delivering some meals to your door. Go to the nutrition services website you can contact someone there and they can get you hooked up with that if that’s what you need.
Q: What other lunches are open to free lunches?
A: There are many schools throughout the Beaverton School District that are opened. My school is Nancy Ryles elementary school but, the best way because I don’t want to leave any schools out, is to, again go to the Beaverton School District website and look under “nutrition service” and there will be a list of all of the schools that are serving the curbside program right now.
To find out if any schools near you are serving free lunches, go to the meal services menu to find all of the information that you may need. Additionally, if you want to apply for meal benefits, visit nutritional services website for more information.
Reminder: While going to pick up free lunches, remember to properly wear a mask and stay 6 feet away from others.