DALLAS — A group of educators and volunteers from Dallas Independent School District is taking extra steps to make sure students receive meals during the COVID-19 crisis.
Administrators and staff from South Oak Cliff High School are hand delivering packaged lunches, breakfasts, and snacks to several students whose families don’t have transportation to make it to campus for meal distribution.
There’s a familiar scene at some campuses across Dallas each Thursday. Cars line up outside schools like South Oak Cliff High School, as workers pass out a week’s worth of food to students.
“We have a huge undertaking of serving 2,000 meals,” said Derrick Battie, community liason for South Oak Cliff High School, as he placed meals in the trunk of one car.
The Dallas ISD meal distribution locations are open from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. each Thursday.
What is not as common is the extra effort some of the teachers and volunteers make once the line shuts down. The group travels to several apartment complexes in the 75216 zip code to hand deliver meals to students’ homes.
"We have a lot of families that don’t have transportation. From the data, we know the inequities in our community," Battie said. "What we do as an SOC alumni and district staff work together to fill those gaps, to stand in the gaps.”
School staffers describe their mission as standing in the gaps.
”We personally put ourselves in risk to make sure we serve those families,” said Battie.
Administrators say while working with families to set up online learning systems, they learned some of them couldn't get to schools to pick up lunches for their kids.
"We’ve been doing home visits. We do whatever we have to do to ensure that they are supported," Principal Dr. Willie Johnson said.
The group says it is about service and equity. They’re doing it with the help of a variety of volunteers from organizations like Friendship West Baptist Church, Mentor Connector, and other agencies.
"The big thing is just hope that we can get through this. And part of this is to help along the way," Nommo Diop said.
The educators and volunteers say they are working to feed a need that exists across the district.