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Bus drivers in McAllen deliver free meals to students

2 months 5 days 8 hours ago Friday, August 21 2020 Aug 21, 2020 August 21, 2020 8:44 AM August 21, 2020 in News - Local

The pandemic has left many parents without a job and forced them to tighten their budgets.

With the start of online classes in many Rio Grande Valley school districts, many children won't know where they'll get their next meal.

Starting Monday morning, students at McAllen ISD will be attending class from their computers for about a month.

Many students relied on going to school in-person not only to learn, but to have a free breakfast and lunch.

One in four children in Texas don't know where their next meal will come from, according to Feeding Texas, a member of Feeding America. With the pandemic, school officials at McAllen ISD said food insecurity has become more prevalent.

"We know that that has gotten worse," said Alexandra Molina, director of child nutrition with McAllen ISD.

Since the pandemic began and in-person classes were suspended in the spring, parents had to pick-up their children's meals from their school. Now, bus drivers will be delivering their meals.

"With fresh fruit, fresh vegetables [and] milk," Molina said.

McAllen ISD will be using a mobile phone application called 'Here Comes The Bus,' which shows where a student's school bus is in real time, letting them know when to go outside to pick-up their meals.

Buses will be covering nearly 60 routes and 10 curbside locations.

Molina explained, this meal delivery program will be a major help to many families.

"So that [parents and the school district] can continue to support the learning that is so vital to our kids," Molina said.

McAllen ISD officials say they will continue handing out meals to all families with children enrolled in the district, even if families decide to continue with online classes once in-person learning is allowed to begin.

More information on the McAllen ISD Meal Program: https://www.mcallenisd.org/apps/pages/meals 

More information on the 'Here Comes The Bus' tracking mobile app: https://www.mcallenisd.org/apps/pages/index.jsp?uREC_ID=1101971&type=d&pREC_ID=1845077 

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