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LJISD suspends meal distribution, seeks new methods

La Joya ISD is working to ensure children continue to be fed.

As the district extended school closures through May 4 in response to the increasing number of cases of COVID-19 in the area, their meal distribution came to a stop – for now. The La Joya Independent School District had to pause their Child Nutrition Program services in order to maintain county, state and federal guidelines.

“We’re given orders from the county, state and national health leaders,” Blanca Cantu, LJISD Public Relations and Communications Coordinator, said. “We’re on that track.”

Because the district had already ordered food for meal distribution, they decided to donate the remaining parcels to local food pantries. Families in the area can call those pantries and find out how they can pick up food for their children at this time.

“We still want to offer these services without having to compromise any community member or any employee, or expose anyone to anything,” Cantu said. “We still want to keep as many people as we can at home.”

Because of the low socio-economic status of many district students, the administration wants to ensure children from 0 to 18 remain full after the shocking shift to online learning in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. LJISD is currently in the process of applying for a new meal program that would accomplish this goal.

“Right now we’re pending in that application,” Cantu said, noting that in order to apply the district had to suspend meal distributions and food services. “As soon as we get approved, we will most definitely be putting something out. We had to shut it down to even be considered.”

Eight food pantries in La Joya, Peñitas and Palmview, including a few churches and the La Joya Housing Authority, have already received the donated meals from the LJISD Child Nutrition Program.

“It was given to these sites, we are preparing a message to be sent out soon,” Cantu said. “It’s spread around the district, more so on the North and West sides which is where we have the highest need.”

As the district is in the process of applying, they cannot disclose which program would take over in the meal department. Cantu stressed that regardless of the results of their application, the district will work to feed every student in the district, and their 0-18-year-old siblings.

“It was a really hard decision for us to make, because we know that our community is in really high need,” Cantu said. “For some of our students, the only food they see is the food that we provide.”

“It was very very difficult to make that decision,” Cantu added. “We have to keep our priority in mind: the health and safety of our students and employees.”

The following locations will have food donated from LJISD available for now. Their contact information is also listed below.

  • Iglesia De Pueblo (956) 821-8100
  • Pueblo De Palmas (956) 533-3588
  • Projecto Desarrollo (956) 257-4308
  • La Joya Housing Authority (956) 227-4838
  • City of La Joya (956) 862-8355
  • City of Palmview (956) 222-5010
  • City of Peñitas (956) 581-3345
  • Iglesia Unidos para Cristo (956) 960-9955

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