School Meal Pickup Locations Expand as State Ordered to Stay Home

New School Lunch

As the shelter in place order to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus has expanded to encompass the entire state of California, more schools are offering meals for pickup for students and their families.

According to data compiled by the Big Local News program at Stanford University, at least 390 schools in 12 counties around the Bay Area are offering free meal pickups while schools are closed and residents statewide have been ordered not to leave their home except for essential reasons.

Most of the Bay Area was placed on a three-week shelter in place order at midnight Tuesday. On Thursday, Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered the entire state to stay at home indefinitely.

About 80 percent of the schools offering meals are open to any child 18 years old or younger and not just students. Some are open a few days a week with access to several meals at once, others are open daily.

That includes 58 locations in Alameda County, 37 in Contra Costa County, 19 in San Francisco, 43 in San Mateo County and 139 in Santa Clara County. As of Friday, Stanford researchers added seven locations in Marin County, 15 in Monterey, three in Napa, 39 in Santa Cruz, 19 in Solano and three in Sonoma.

Laura Dudnick, a spokesperson for San Francisco Unified School District, said Thursday that since the program started on March 17, more than 2,000 families have picked up meals at the city's pickup sites.

She said a new donation has allowed the district to provide dinner as well and students can pick up all three meals at their sites.

In Oakland, meals are available for distribution on Monday and Thursdays and students can pick up meals to last them until the next distribution day.

According to a news release from Oakland Unified School District, more than 4,000 students picked up nearly 25,000 breakfasts and lunches at the 12 schools distributing meals on Monday.

The district said that its two busiest locations were Garfield Elementary School, which served 731 students, and Oakland High School, which served 635.

A map of locations compiled by Stanford's Big Journalism Project is available here:

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