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HISD serves free meals to hundreds of families as district closes due to coronavirus concerns

The district said the meals are just one way it is helping students and their families who depend on them for regular meals.

HOUSTON — Hundreds of families lined up Saturday morning at Chavez High School in southeast Houston, some as early as 6 a.m., as volunteers with Houston ISD and the Houston Food Bank teamed up to give out free food to families.

This comes as dozens of districts, including HISD, canceled classes amid coronavirus concerns.

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The district said the meals are just one way it is helping students and their families who depend on them for regular meals.

From bags and boxes filled with food and plenty of goodwill, in a long line that wrapped around the entire high school, we spotted the Moreno family.

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“I think this is a good thing that they’re doing,” Lisa Moreno said. “It’s very important that we stand in the gap to help our families but we’re also calling on other agencies to help us so we can reach as many families as possible,” HISD Superintendent Dr. Grenita Lathan said.

Saturday’s food distribution site was the first of six. The other five will take place Monday through Friday, and the district has added other locations, all the while remaining mindful of families and practicing social distancing.

"Keeping the distance between themselves and another family, making sure they're not touching, this is the hardest part of my job right now, because I'm used to interacting very closely with our students and families, so this is hard. This is the new normal for our entire community and entire country,” Dr. Lathan said.

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From fresh fruits and vegetables, truckloads of healthy food items were brought in for families to take.

“It means a lot. It really does, because when you go to the stores you can’t find anything, especially when you have a family of 5 or 8, you’ve got to feed the kids, especially when they’ve got to be out of school for three weeks. It means a lot,” mom Valerie Moreno said.

Smiles and “Thank you!” were just a bonus for volunteers helping families walk away with carts filled with food and hope that even in tough times, the community can come together.

“One day, there’s going to be a miracle, and everything is going to go away if we all hope,” Lisa Moreno said.

HISD will have five food distribution sites starting March 16 through March 20.

For details on locations and times for those, along with how other school districts across the Houston area are participating in similar grab-and-go-style offers. click here.

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