Houston, TX

Local food distribution program shuts down

Jason Martinez

Barnett Food Drive/houstonisd.org

HOUSTON — Almost 1,200 cars and trucks could be seen waiting for their final distribution of family food and household supplies from the Neighborhood Supersite at Barnett Stadium.

Last March, HISD Nutrition Services launched its community food distribution program. It began distributing food and other essential items after the district had to shut its doors close due to the pandemic.

“I am grateful that my children were able to get food, especially milk,” said father of seven Enrique Alvarado, whose job has been negatively impacted by the pandemic.

Since its first operation, the 1,600-member team has worked for six days a week, managed over 10,000 distribution sites, distributed more than 44 million pounds of food and household supplies, and prepared and served over 8.9 million meals. Despite working for the community distribution program, the team could still maintain standard cafeteria services for face-to-face students.

The department also worked during torrential rains, extreme heat, high winds, and even a winter storm as they stepped in to help on the front lines.

“This Nutrition Services team took their mission seriously. Everything that could have been done to help our food-insecure students and their families, they did it,” said Betti Wiggins, Nutrition Services Officer.

Last month, the district announced that it would be shutting down its Neighborhood Supersite distribution program as the end of the school year got closer and public health improved. The Barnett Stadium location was the last of the eight sites to be terminated.

“Everybody still has food needs. God bless you, HISD, for all you have done for us,” said Trevor McDade, the regular recipient.

Keith Lewis, Nutrition Services Senior Operations Manager, said that the team will now focus on campus operations.

“We will be shifting our attention to our school kitchens where we serve good food to our students attending class,” said Lewis.

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