Houston ISD announced Wednesday night that it is cancelling its food distribution events on Thursday and Friday amid intensified concerns about the spread of COVID-19, the upper-respiratory disease caused by the new strain of coronavirus.
Three of the called-off food distribution events were scheduled to take place at area campuses – on Thursday morning at Clifton Middle School and on Friday morning at Frank Black Middle School and Booker T. Washington High School. HISD was conducting the food distribution program in a partnership with the Houston Food Bank.
HISD said Thursday that the decision to halt the program, which operated at 39 campuses, was made after the district learned that someone who had been at the Welch Middle School distribution site in Southwest Houston is under self-quarantine because of possible exposure to COVID-19. HISD said that person has not tested positive, but all volunteers and staff who have worked at that site have been notified and asked to self-quarantine for 14 days.
“This is a difficult decision to make, but the safety of the community, staff, and volunteers is our top priority,” HISD interim superintendent Grenita Lathan said in a statement. “We are proud that in the past two weeks we have provided meals for thousands of Houston families.”
HISD said it is indefinitely suspending its food distribution program, in which each visiting family received approximately 30 pounds of free food, while the district “re-evaluates its process for safely delivering this service to students and families.” HISD, which has closed its campuses through April 13, also directed families in need to utilize similar resources.
The Houston Parks and Recreation Department is distributing free food to children at 50 sites across the city, including 10 locations in the near northwest part of town. The events are being held 1-3 p.m. Monday through Friday and provide one lunch and one snack to all children between ages 1-18 who visit the sites.
The city said Thursday that up to 50 meals will be available at some sites. The number of meals may increase to up to 200 per site based on daily participation.
The locations in or near the area include Candlelight Park Community Center, 1520 Candlelight Ln.; Fonde Community Center, 110 Sabine St.; Highland Park Community Center, 3316 De Soto St.; Independence Heights Community Center, 6603 E. 35th St.; Love Community Center, 1000 W. 12th St.; Montie Beach Community Center, 915 Northwood St.; Moody Park Community Center, 3725 Fulton St.; Proctor Plaza Park Community Center, 803 W. Temple St.; Stude Park Community Center, 1030 Stude St.; and Woodland Community Center, 212 Parkview St.
Parents cannot pick up food for children who are not present at the time of pick-up at one of the city sites. Food will be placed in the trunk of recipients’ vehicles to ensure social distancing.
For more information and a complete list of distribution sites, visit houstontx.gov/parks/.
Families also can visit houstonfoodbank.org/covid19/ to find information about 250 Houston Food Bank sites operating throughout the city.