Schools in San Jose are seeing fewer families on the drive-thru lunch program – CBS San Francisco

SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) – When the COVID-19 pandemic began, it was a lifeline for many families. Now, for the first time this week, San Jose schools are noticing fewer people are driving to their free lunch programs.

“It’s been going down a bit lately,” said Mireya Santiago, a food service worker at Linda Vista Elementary.

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The menu featured steaming hot chicken bites, rolls, fruit and vegetables.

Take-away lunch is free for families with children or virtually anyone who pulls up hungry.

A family picks up a free meal at the Linda Vista Elementary in San Jose. (CBS)

“It helps us. It makes us feel good, ”said Bertha Taylor, a mother who receives lunch for her children.

“They need it and they were grateful that we were there for them,” said Santiago.

This week, the Alum Rock School District says it has fed about 2,800 students last year, about 300 fewer than average and about 900 fewer than peak hours.

Nobody is sure why it’s not working, but we could see another sign of the economy reopening.

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“When parents go back to work, it becomes more difficult for parents to drop by and pick up meals,” said Denisse Mendez, director of child nutrition services for the Alum Rock School District.

Or because the parents are back to work, some families may be less needy.

Mendez said the numbers could drop even further next week if students return to school part-time to take classes in person.

Food, a vital lifeline during the worst of the pandemic, remains important to some families.

“The kids will only be returning for an hour and a half so I can’t go to work. I have no one to look after the children, ”said Dolores Gonzales, who drove up with her three children in an SUV.

And she says it helps a lot that her children love food.

“We like the cheese burgers, the grilled cheese and the egg rolls,” said the children with a smile.

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School officials say the free drive-up eating program will continue through August, when the children return to school for the full day.

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