As COVID-19 continues to affect communities everywhere, local restaurants are partnering with Austin ISD to provide meals to students and caregivers through funding from the City of Austin and the Austin Ed Fund. To date, Henbit, Easy Tiger and three Good Work Austin restaurants, including Colleen’s Kitchen, Contigo and L’oca d’Oro, have prepared nearly 150,000 meals with plans to continue through the end of August. “I think one of the most interesting things during the last three months has been the need to respond very quickly to anything that presents itself as an opportunity,” Ben Edgerton of Contigo says.
Through their partnership with Austin ISD, these restaurants are increasing food access to the community and helping local producers maintain their production levels. The initiative has also allowed restaurants to continue to employ staff or bring back team members who were let go or furloughed as a result of forced closures and reduced business.
The Austin ISD meal delivery program provides two meals per day to students at more than 80 locations with additional meals for caregivers. Meals can be picked up five days a week with extra meals distributed on Fridays that are designed to last through the weekend. “One thing that’s unique about the program is while we deliver meals five days a week to schools, we’re delivering an entire week’s worth of breakfast and lunches. So, each restaurant is preparing seven unique breakfasts and seven unique lunches that are then packaged together,” Ashley Colleen Fric of Colleen’s Kitchen says.
On average, Austin ISD serves nearly 14,000 student meals per day. Now, through the Austin ISD Crisis Support Fund – an initiative established by Austin ISD and the Austin Ed Fund – approximately 28,000 meals are distributed each week to caregivers as well as students.
More information about Austin ISD meal sites, dates and times, can be found at austinisd.org/covid19/meals.
Story by Sarah McConnell