This Thanksgiving, hundreds of Ravenswood City School District (RCSD) families will enjoy safe, nutritious, and free meals prepared by the RCSD Child Nutrition and Education (CNE) team. The CNE team has a lot to be thankful for as well, having recently won Second Harvest’s prestigious “Big Apple” award and hitting a major milestone when they delivered their 500,000th meal during the pandemic.
“The district hasn’t historically distributed meals during Thanksgiving Break,” said Superintendent Gina Sudaria, “but this year we know that many of our families are counting on RCSD for quality meals during this difficult time. Delivering quality meals this week allows our families to access a full week of pre-packaged, fresh, and healthy breakfasts, lunches, and dinners. This will help our students and families recharge over the holiday break. We expect to serve approximately over 12,000 meals during Thanksgiving break alone.”
While initially providing more traditional school meals, the CNE team realized that families preferred meal boxes. “We work closely with our families and have changed to include more of what they tell us they want, such as adding more fresh fruits, vegetables along with distributing whole pizzas for families, not just our traditional single slices” said Byron Montenegro, a kitchen manager at Belle Haven School in Menlo Park.
RCSD also realized that some families could not leave their homes to pick up meals — especially those who were caregivers for a family member or child with moderate to severe disabilities, so the district created a system to deliver meals to families in these situations. “This has become a big part of what we do,” explained Delma Camacho, Director of Operations. “We started with home delivery being 30% of our meal distribution and we are currently up to 50% of meals being home delivered.”
This creativity was recently recognized by Second Harvest and the San Mateo County Office of Education when the district was awarded its first “Big Apple Award.” The award is given to school groups showing extraordinary effort. In winning the award, RCSD was cited for it’s tireless dedication to its students, as well as the innovation the district has shown in responding to the needs of the pandemic.
Until all students are back, the CNE team will continue distributing meals every Monday and Wednesday from 8:00 am to 2:00pm at each of the Ravenswood district school sites, just as they have for the last eight months.