BEVERLY HILLS—Schools in the Beverly Hills Unified School District (BHUSD) continue to provide meals for students through their lunch program, while schools remain closed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

In March, state and federal officials approved of Grab & Go meal distributions to continue serving students despite the pandemic.

BHUSD students can arrived to drive Horace Mann School between 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. where they will be handed their lunch through a drive-up service. Lunches include an entree, milk, fruit, and vegetables. 

Despite not being in school, the district offers this free program to help students in need who depend on the program.

The lack of students physically in school to buy food in the cafeteria has impacted the number of lunches being sold. Whereas 700 lunches were served a day while school was in session, less than 120 lunches a day were distributed once quarantine began. A total of 2,158 and 2,812 meals were served in April and May, respectively, while 12,471 meals were served in January.

Heather Oyamo, BHUSD’s Food Service Director, told Canyon News that she thinks the numbers have been decreasing because people no longer need the service as they have food at home. The program also wants to “leave the food for those that are more needy.”

BHUSD is not the only district to provide free lunch meals to students in need. This can be seen all around the United States due to the creation of The National Student Lunch Program. The program was created in 1947 to federally assist public and nonprofit private schools around the nation in providing low-cost or free lunches to children during school.

Students must qualify for free or reduced-price meals under the The National Student Lunch Program. According to the state education department, 3.5 million students were eligible for free or reduced-price meals in the 2018-19 school year. 

The Grab & Go meal distributions implemented during the coronavirus pandemic allow free meals for all students, regardless of whether they qualify for free meals or not.