Oakland, CA — After the first three weeks of the school year, in which our nutrition services team was required to verify all students receiving food attend our District-run schools, the federal government has made a big change. This week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reversed course and announced that schools can now return to their grab and go policies from the summer.
Starting tomorrow, Thursday, September 3, all children in Oakland 18 years old and younger, can get food. They can be students in charter or private schools, or homeschooled. Students in our Young Adult Program can also receive food. It will include three meals for each weekday, and two meals for each weekend day. On Thursday, families will be able to pick up ten meals per child, plus other necessities courtesy of our partners across the city and county.
The fall semester policies that began on August 1 had caused a significant decline in participation in the District’s grab and go program, presumably because many families have children in both District-run schools, who could receive food, and charters or other schools, who could not. Another likely explanation is that the previous requirement that families had to show their students attend a District-run school might have scared some people off because they were worried their private information would fall into the hands of the federal government. The District assured families this would not happen, as OUSD does not give private student and family information to the federal government, yet it still likely contributed to the drop-off.
Our nutrition services staff will be taking attendance at the grab and go events, but families no longer have to prove their students attend District-run schools. “This is an exciting and welcome change,” said OUSD Nutrition Services Executive Director, Irene Reynolds. “Our role is to feed the young people of Oakland. It shouldn’t be to weed out families in need just because their children don’t attend our schools. Hunger is a critical issue in our city, especially now during the pandemic, and we must ensure all children receive the nutritious food they need to get them through this challenging time. We look forward to welcoming all families to our grab and go events on Monday and Thursday mornings, starting tomorrow.”
There are 22 sites across the District where families can pick up food from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., and you can find a map and more information on our website, ousd.org/nutrition.
One additional note: as Monday is the Labor Day national holiday, there will be no grab and go event.
Please don’t forget to wear a mask to protect yourself and those around you.
###About the Oakland Unified School DistrictIn California’s most diverse city, Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) is dedicated to creating a learning environment where “Every Student Thrives!” More than half of our students speak a non-English language at home. And each of our 81 schools is staffed with talented individuals uniting around a common set of values: Students First, Equity, Excellence, Integrity, Cultural Responsiveness and Joy. We are committed to preparing all students for college, career and community success.
To learn more about OUSD’s Full Service Community District focused on academic achievement while serving the whole child in safe schools, please visit OUSD.org and follow us @OUSDnews.
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