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COVID: Oakland Schools Now Delivering Meals To Students And Their Families

OAKLAND (CBS SF/BCN) -- The Oakland Unified School District joined the food delivery business this week as district officials announced Friday the district will bring meals to students learning from home.

In addition, district staff are delivering produce twice a month and meals for adults.

"If DoorDash and Uber Eats can take food to kids, then OUSD can do it, too," said Irene Reynolds, executive director of OUSD's Nutrition Services.

Students can sign up for home delivery at

Each delivery typically contains a week's worth of food, consisting of seven breakfasts, seven lunches and five dinners for each student and each of their siblings.

At least one child, who is 18 and younger, must be a OUSD student to qualify for the meals. Meals are also available to students in the school district's young adult program.

"We all gotta eat," said LaTanya Robinson, who works in Nutrition Services at Castlemont High School and Roosevelt Middle School. "Some kids don't eat unless they go to school. This is a big blessing to a lot of people."

While boxes typically have food for a week, Friday's boxes will be assembled with two weeks of food because school is out next Friday.

"We have taconadas, bean and cheese burritos, we have mini waffles, yogurt and celery, and we have apples and oranges thus far," Robinson said.

Deliveries are made to the central part of the city and West Oakland on Mondays and Tuesdays. Wednesday through Friday, deliveries are made to East Oakland.

About 12,000 boxes of food are delivered each week by two dozen drivers after 120 district staff assemble them.

"With this home delivery, it just makes it easier and more convenient for our families, and that's what they're looking for," said Peggy Gruendl, Nutrition Services staff member at Castlemont.

"It just makes it easier to have it personally delivered to their home, instead of having to get interrupted and come pick up the food and go back home," Gruendl said.

Up to 150 boxes of food are delivered each week, school district officials said. The drivers, who are mostly parents in the district, also get some food so their families are fed.

Some of those parents or their spouses have lost a job.

"My husband was laid off, so I'm the only one bringing income into our home," said driver Rosario Reyna, whose two children attend Greenleaf TK-8 school.

About 3,500 students still get meals at grab-and-go food sites across the district, according to district officials.

"We all know students need nutrition to thrive. In order to make sure we are supporting their learning, this thinking outside the box had to happen," Reynolds said.

© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Bay City News Service contributed to this report.

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