South Sound School Districts Are Feeding Kids

Since the early stages of government ordered closures of Washington schools due to COVID-19, many districts have facilitated community meal plans to children of local families. One of them is the Steilacoom Historical School District in Pierce County — and it is open to all students.

On average, the Steilacoom Historical School District has been serving more than 9,000 meals — including breakfasts and lunches — every week, said Victor Castillo, general manager of nutrition services for SHSD.

Photo by Emily Molina.

“It’s more than serving food,” said Castillo, “It’s a way to remain connected.” Many families use this meal pick-up time as a brief interlude in their otherwise long day of online and homeschool learning. “We welcome this opportunity to give them a break during their day. It’s not only about school districts. It’s about community, and service to others.”

With six school buildings and two additional off-site locations, families have been able to pick up food for their children ages 0 to 18, Monday through Thursday, between 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. — with two days’ worth of meals distributed on Thursdays.

“A common misconception is that this is just for low-income families,” said Castillo. “It’s not. It’s for everybody. This can be a helpful tool for every family.”

Districts like SHSD have been able to utilize federal programming like the Summer Feed Program, allowing them to provide meals now. This has been made possible through waivers, as a result of recent government stimulus initiatives, ongoing efforts of the Washington Office of Public Instruction (OSPI), and local school districts.

Check with your area school district to see what meal plan distributions may be in place or contact OSPI ‘s Nutrition and Meals Guidance resources to find out more information. Chances are you will get to say hello to your favorite teacher — at a distance.

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