Food program serves all families, regardless of background
When schools closed and BVSD launched food distribution, many of the first customers were families who receive free and reduced lunch. The pandemic has now impacted people from all socioeconomic backgrounds, so the food distribution sites are now a place where BVSD families from all walks of life go to help stretch their monthly budget during these financially stressful times.
“I’ve always gotten food for my family at the grocery store, so I’d never even thought I’d need to go get extra food for my family somewhere else,” says a BVSD father of two who picked up food from BVSD’s food distribution sites for several weeks to supplement his family's budget. “I volunteered with this program when it first started, and I saw that it’s something I’d recommend for anyone to try, at least once, to see if it can help get you and your family through these strange times. When I go to pick up a food bag, I can sense the positivity from the staff. They are happy to be there serving the food -- there are no judgments, only good energy when you drive up.”
The BVSD Food Distributions happen every Tuesday and Thursday from 11:30-1:30 at seven different school sites (listed below). No identification or paperwork is required and the bags distributed include enough ingredients for at least eight meals. Typical bags include a variety of pasta, rice, beans, fresh fruits and veggies, canned goods, cheese sticks, yogurt and milk.
“We want to counter the perception that this program needs to be left for someone who ’really’ needs it,” says Stephen Menyhart, Operations Manager of BVSD Food Services and BVSD parent. “We have plenty of food, and if no one shows up, we aren’t able to run the program. When people come to get food it helps us sustain the program. Food assistance is the new normal and it isn’t just for the most destitute, we all need help right now.”
“Picking up these food bags stretches our food budget by a lot,” shares another BVSD parent who has picked up from the distribution sites every day since they’ve opened. “It’s saving us around $375-$400 a month in groceries.”
With his kids at home, this father shared that they love to immediately snack on the string cheeses and yogurts while the family cooks the whole, raw ingredients to make meals for the family. Since he started picking up bags for his own family, he has reached out to several families he knows who don’t have transportation or the mobility to reach the sites. He picks up bags for them twice a week and delivers to them as well.
One of the most recent surprises in store for families was a plant distribution pop up at their food distribution site. Families could opt into receiving a box of veggie, herb and flower seedlings to grow at home if they wanted. Many shared plans to add them to existing gardens while others said they’d try gardening for the first time this year. And more than one kiddo requested cherry tomato plants.
“Every week there’s a kind of excitement for Tuesdays and Thursdays to find out what kind of treat is waiting for us this time,” he said. “I imagine there are others who feel uneasy about picking up the food, but it’s such a valuable resource for our family to stretch our budget, it’s worth getting over initial discomfort or self-consciousness.”
BVSD Food Distribution continues through July 16
When: Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.
Where: Sanchez ES, Crest View ES, Columbine ES, Emerald ES, Louisville MS, Nederland Middle/Senior High School, and University Hill ES.
In need of food, but can't make it to our food distribution? Call the Family Help Line (720-770-0102) or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Let us know your full name and the school(s) your children attend and food can be delivered by our community liaisons.
Families can find resources, recipes and tips for cooking at home with kids on the Food Services website here.