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'It's been a Godsend' | Houston ISD ending Neighborhood Supersite food distribution program started amid pandemic

Other food programs will continue through the end of the school year and through the summer.

HOUSTON — The pandemic may be easing, but the demand for food doesn’t appear to be.

Hundreds lined up again Wednesday for Houston ISD's weekly Neighborhood Supersite food distribution at Barnett Stadium where folks drive up or walk up for free supplies.

"There’s a lot of people that really need the food," said Maria Gutierrez. "People don’t have jobs, and it’s very necessary.”

Dwight Wiseman, a grandfather of two HISD students, was first in line.

He waited three-and-a-half hours for the site to open.

"It's been a Godsend," Wiseman said. "We need it because it feeds the family.”

Feeding the tremendous need through massive distributions began more than a year ago with partners like the Houston Food Bank.

“I’m extremely proud of the team that’s worked six days a week,” said HISD Nutrition Services senior area manager Keith Lewis.

He said more than 4.4 million pounds of food and supplies have been given out along with nearly nine million student meals. But public health improvements and the approaching summer break make it a good time to wind down.

"That’s one of the unfortunate things," Lewis said. "We understand the demand is huge and is there inside the community of Houston. But we’ve got to stop it sooner or later.”

Not stopping are campus curb-side food distributions which will run through the end of the school year.

Meanwhile, student meal delivery to select apartment complexes will continue through the summer.

Wiseman and others told us they’re grateful for anything they can get.

"We'll take whatever they have. I can’t complain," Wiseman said. "Everything they give us will be in good use.”

The Barnett Stadium supersite will operate one more time from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. next Wednesday.

A number of other districts also plan to continue food efforts through the summer. Be sure to check their websites or social media platforms.

More on HISD's decision:

With just three weeks left in the school year and public health conditions improving across the city, the Houston Independent School District is preparing to shut down its Neighborhood Supersite community food distribution program.

The two final distributions will be held this Wednesday, May 26, 2021 and next Wednesday, June 2, 2021. Both will be held from 2 to 6 p.m. at Barnett Stadium, 6800 Fairway Drive. No further Saturday distributions are scheduled.

At the final two community distributions, food and supplies are available to all and student meals are available to anyone aged 1 to 18. If children are not in the car, families must provide a birth certificate or proof of school enrollment for each child needing meals.

Campus curbside pick-up

Student meals for virtual learners are available via curbside pick-up at designated locations on Mondays and Thursdays through Thursday, June 10, 2021. Note: Sites will be closed Monday, May 31, 2021, for Memorial Day. To accommodate the closure, a week’s worth of meals will be provided on Thursday, May 27.

Apartment complex distributions

Student meal delivery to select apartment complexes will continue through Friday, Aug. 20, 2021. Note: Distributions are canceled Friday, May 28, 2021, and Monday, May 31, 2021 due to Memorial Day. 

For a complete list of distribution times and locations, visit HoustonISD.org/StudentMeals.