With Los Angeles Unified schools closing Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday due to a strike, many parents might be left to wonder whether empty classrooms will lead to empty stomachs.
The majority of LAUSD's students come from low-income families — many of whom face food insecurity. Each day, the nation's second-largest school district provides hundreds of thousands of meals to those families. But with the support staff who normally pack and serve meals going on strike amid long-running contract talks, and with teachers joining them in solidarity, the district is finding other ways to provide food.
"We know that when 75% or more of the kids in our community live at or below the poverty level, school for them is far more than just a great education — it’s where they receive nourishing meals every day," LAUSD Supt. Alberto Carvalho said Monday. "I’m very appreciative that the city of Los Angeles is partnering with us to ensure that grab-and-go meals will be distributed and students will have some degree of normalcy and stability in the event of a strike."
Meal options through LAUSD
As part of LAUSD's food distribution program, the L.A. Department of Recreation and Parks, the Boys and Girls Club and several local cities will host 24 locations to provide grab-and-go meals for students on Tuesday from 7:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Through this program, families will be provided six meals per student to cover breakfast and lunch for three days.
The full list of distribution sites can be found here.
The L.A. city Parks Department will also offer free programs for first- through fifth-graders on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at 30 recreation centers from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Lunch and snacks will be provided as will assistance with school assignments and recreation activities. (A list of participating locations can be found here. Registration for the city parks program can be done online.)
Meal options through L.A. County
On Friday afternoon, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors and the county's Parks and Recreation Department agreed to have 16 parks and two nature centers throughout the county serve as meal distribution centers and child-care and activity centers for children ages 7 to 17 during the strike. Breakfast will be distributed from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. and lunch from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
These programs will "serve as a safety net for the many students and families who are temporarily impacted by the possible LAUSD strike," said Norma Edith García-Gonzalez, director of the county Parks and Recreation Department, in a news release.
Here is a list of the participating parks and nature centers:
Belvedere Park (4914 E. Cesar Chavez Ave., Los Angeles 90022)
City Terrace Park (1126 N. Hazard Ave., East Los Angeles 90063)
Obregon Park (4021 E. 1st St., Los Angeles 90063)
Saybrook Park (6250 E. Northside Drive, East Los Angeles 90022)
Ruben Salazar Park (3864 Whittier Blvd., Los Angeles 90023)
Athens Park (12603 S. Broadway, Los Angeles 90061)
Bethune Park (1244 E. 61st St., Los Angeles 90001)
Helen Keller Park (1045 W. 126th St., Los Angeles, 90044)
Jesse Owens Park (9651 S. Western Ave., Los Angeles 90047)
Earvin Magic Johnson Park (905 E. El Segundo Blvd., Los Angeles 90059)
Roosevelt Park (7600 Graham Ave., Los Angeles 90001)
Ted Watkins Park (1335 E. 103rd St., Los Angeles 90002)
Leon H Washington Park (8908 S. Maie Ave., Los Angeles 90002)
Victoria Park (419 Martin Luther King Jr. St., Carson 90746)
El Cariso Park (13100 Hubbard St., Sylmar 91342)
Crescenta Valley Park (3901 Dunsmore Ave., Glendale 91214)
Deane Dana Friendship Park and Nature Center (1805 W. 9th St., San Pedro 90732)
Stoneview Nature Center (5950 Stoneview Drive, Culver City 90232)
Other ways to find food
The Los Angeles Regional Food Bank has an online tool that helps locate organizations that provide food and meals to those in need. Enter your address, city or ZIP Code, and the tool will help you find your nearest food distribution center.
On Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to noon, Central City Community Partners provides hot meals for school-age children at at 501 S. Bixel St., Los Angeles 90017. The organization also has a grocery distribution service Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the same location.
Hollywood Lutheran Church has a community fridge in its parking lot and runs a food pantry Wednesdays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The church is at 1733 North New Hampshire Ave., Los Angeles 90027.
The Bread of Life Foursquare Church (5175 W. Washington St., Los Angeles 90016) runs a food pantry on Wednesdays from 11 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.
The pantry services of the St. Francis Center operate Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The food distribution center is at 1835 S. Hope St., Los Angeles 90015.
The Immanuel Presbyterian Church food pantry, at 663 S. Berendo St., Los Angeles 90005, operates Wednesdays and Fridays from 9 a.m. to noon.
St. Agnes Catholic Church runs its food distribution program on Tuesdays from 9 to 10:30 a.m. at 2625 S Vermont Ave., Los Angeles 90007.
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.