School Meal Delivery Available for 4J, Springfield, McKenzie School Districts Starting Monday
Starting Monday, the Eugene 4J and Springfield School Districts will begin delivering meals to students. The districts are trying to support working parents who may be unable to pick up their free meals. The Springfield School District will be delivering lunches to children in the Springfield area, as well as students in the McKenzie School District.
According to 4J Director of Support Services Holly Langan, the district has received more than 950 meal requests for more than 400 addresses since September 27. Langan shared how the meal delivery process will work for the 4J district.
“Routes are going to run in two sessions,” said Langan. “We're working on those now, but approximately one will deliver between 10:30am and noon. And then the other will deliver between 12:30pm-2:30pm.”
Langan says roughly 25 students from each school need their meals delivered. The district is working to accommodate students with special dietary requests, as well as deliver meals, as well as multiple students at one apartment complex, and will not be able to accommodate 4J families outside of the district boundaries right now.
The reimbursement for meals served is issued through the federal government, and then comes from federal funding through the state.
The district is averaging about 2,500 meals per day and doesn’t know if the number will increase in the coming weeks.
“That's one of the USDA federal requirements unless we have partnership agreements with those districts,” said Langan. “So that isn't out of the question, it’s just beyond what we can do for infrastructure right now. So we're trying to help them find other locations.”
“We can't deliver intermittently yet,” said Langan. “Maybe a child is at one house for two of the days, another house for three of the days, and they're trying to split it. We aren't Ubers—as much as we’d like to be Uber Eats—we're just not there yet. So that's something that, if we can, we will try and figure out with families.”
Although the district is still looking for ways to solve food insecurity gaps, Langan says these services are still more innovative than some other meal programs at districts across the state.
“The other districts in Oregon—they're all doing what we're doing—the differences are usually around providing one big box once a week or only serving Tuesday, Thursday,” said Langan. “Because we want to serve a hot lunch as much as possible, that's why we've chosen Monday through Friday. And also so that families have a ready to go, ready to eat meal versus if you give them a box on Monday—someone probably has to prepare and cook that meal. So the burden all goes back on the family, versus if we do it this way.”
Students, parents, and any youth 18 and under are still able to pick up meals from the school meal locations for both districts. 4J’s meal pick up is Monday-Friday from 10:45am-2pm, and Springfield’s meal pickup and delivery is from 11am-1pm.