Submitted by Rene Carroll
Washougal School District, like all organizations and companies during the COVID-19 outbreak, is not operating business as usual. However, WSD’s commitment to know and nurture their students remains strong.
“To serve meals for our families in need during this school closure time, we have had to retool how we operated and fast,” said Kris Grindy, WSD Business Manager. School closures in Washington State were announced on Friday, March 13 and food delivery to three Washougal locations began Monday, March 16. During the first week 1,218 sacks were distributed. The second week increased to 1,556. Each sack contains two meals.
“No child should ever have to say that they do not have anything to eat,” said Grindy. “Food Service has done an amazing job transitioning over a weekend from serving our students in buildings to serving our students at Food Distribution Sites.”
Rockwood Terrace Apartments at 535 C Street was the latest location for WSD free grab-and-go breakfast and lunch meals on March 25. Other locations are: Hamllik Park – 4300 Addy Street; Hathaway Elementary – 630 24th Street; and Cape Horn-Skye – 9731 Washougal River Road. Meals bags are available 10 AM to noon on Monday – Friday for children 18 and under.
Families are strongly encouraged to pick up meals, however, families that are unable to get to schools to pick up meals in person can request meal delivery to your child’s home. For those who need it, meal delivery is set to begin on Monday, April 6. To request delivery of meals, please complete the online request form on the WSD website to get started. If you are unable to complete the form online, you may call the District Office at (360) 954-000.
“We could not do this work without a long list of superheroes coming together during this unprecedented time to provide these grab-and-go meals and provide a welcoming simile to the students coming to our sites,” Gindy said. “Nutrition services employees, led by Mark Jasper of Sodexo; bus drivers, led by Jesse Miller, WSD Transportation supervisor; and social distance coordinators are showing up daily to make sure our community is taken care of during the school closure.”
“I totally appreciate our employees who are stepping up to do this important work for our school community,” said Jasper.
Additionally, due to a generous donation from Sodexo, WSD had been able to offer adult meals to the community, however that funding is coming to an end. “We have since partnered with Unite! Washougal Community Coalition, led by Margaret McCarthy, to activate community fundraising to keep providing adult meals so families can eat together.” Visit Unite Washougal Community Coalition Facebook page for details on how to give.
Grocery Outlet has also helped these efforts. “In a five-minute phone call, they responded to a need we were seeing for new, unused plastic handled bags so students could carry their lunch home with ease,” said Grindy. “I value our community and their support!”
Additional collaboration and partnerships are being organized the WSD Family Resource Coordination team of Nancy Nass-Boon and Penny Porche.
“Nancy and Penny have coordinated efforts with Children’s Home Society and The Gap Foundation to continue to offer the important Friday Food Backpacks and additional resources to our families in-need,” Grindy said. “I am so proud to work with both of them and experience the dedication they have to supporting our students and families.”
Weekend backpacks filled with vital food are available to registered families at Hathaway, Hamllik Park and Rockwood Terrace on Fridays.