TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - The programs they are a-changing; well some of them are due to the threat of COVID19. WE take a look at the East Texas Food Bank’s Summer Food Program which supplies children in need with free food over the summer, and how it’s a little different now in the Next Normal.
The East Texas Food Bank has been supplying kids with summer food for years according to Program Services Director Tim Butler.
“So right now we’re probably distributing 800 to 1,000 meals a day between lunch and breakfast,” Butler said.
There are about twenty active locations in East Texas.
“We have less sites than last year, but I think it’s because a lot of the daycare programming they can’t do right now just because of social distancing,” Butler said.
And the rules have changed for that same reason.
“All the kids or their families need to do is come through the site in their car. We’re offering curbside pick up, so the kids don’t have to eat on site this year,” Butler said.
Which is how it had always been at say, the Boy’s and Girl’s Club in Longview: to eat you had to take a seat. But there, Karla Sanchez stopped by to pick up lunch for her kids since she has the same issue all parents do:
“They’re hungry all day, they’re playing outside. It’s a program that really helps us out a lot for all the kids at the house,” Sanchez said.
“Kids really don’t even have to be present as long as a parent can prove that they have a child in the household. That could be a report card, a portal on their phone for their school or whatever the case may be,” Butler said.
And if the summer runs long and schools are delayed opening:
“We do anticipate running a version of the Summer Feeding Program in a time when it’s not summer. So we could potentially go into the fall serving curbside meals to help these folks,” Butler said.
Meals are served up to the limited number of kids allowed in the Boys and Girls Club, and social distancing means kids needing meals will not be invited inside. And Karla, well she’s just:
“Trying to see how the new year’s going to be. Trying to make it our normal but it really is not,” Sanchez said.
So for now, the East Texas Food Bank’s Summer Food Program is adapting to the Next Normal.