Edmonds Kind of Play: Free school district meals available to all, plus library services you can access during the pandemic

Edmonds School District Superintendent Dr. Gustavo Balderas, right, with Food and Nutrition Services Director Megan de Vries as the millionth free meal is served.

Earlier this month, Edmonds School District Food and Nutrition services, which provide seven days a week of free breakfast and lunch to kids ages 1 through 18 at local schools and community locations, said that many parents are asking if they “‘choose school meals’ will they be “taking away from someone else who needs it?” The answer is no. Per the Edmonds School District Food and Nutrition Facebook page, there are many benefits to choosing these food kits. On top of saving families money, the meals are 100% funded by the USDA until Dec. 31, so “choosing school meals brings federal money directly to our state economy, local business and school nutrition employees paychecks.”

Since March 16, the Edmonds School District has served 1 million free meals. Edmonds School District Superintendent Dr. Gustavo Balderas served the actual millionth meal to a family at College Place Elementary on Thursday, which came with a socially distant photo op and a celebratory bottle of sparkling cider. We picked up our first lunch kits Thursday and it was very easy and full of options for breakfast and lunch. Kids don’t need to be with you when you pick up your meals, and any student can visit any location. You also don’t need to fill out any paperwork or preregister. We found the closest school with an availability that fit and drove through the area where the buses would normally drop off.

We got one kit for each of my students and a half a gallon of milk and some chocolate milk cartons for each of them. The kit included a bag of items meant for the freezer, some refrigerated options, and shelf stable food as well. Megan Devries, the district’s director of food and nutrition services, posted a video this week going through the lunch kits for her students (and adding some tips for heating up the items.) You can watch it here, and her kits looked just like ours. There was pizza, French toast sticks, orange chicken and rice in a microwave-safe container, and produce, including broccoli and baby carrots. Devries added that they have vegetarian kits on-site and you can call ahead if you have additional special dietary needs.

Grab and Go Meals are available on Wednesdays and Thursdays with pick-up options from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. depending on the location. The district says that if you have transportation barriers, contact the school office to be added to the district’s home delivery list. You can find all of the locations and food and nutrition services contact information at bit.ly/ESDGrabnGo.

I’m seeing an uptick in posts from parents about unfinished school work. During the Curriculum Night we attended virtually this week, the school shared online resources for how to sign up for and use Canvas. This is the platform teachers are using to assign work, provide Zoom links, and post grades for students and adults. You can find links, information, and a video tutorial on how to use Canvas at bit.ly/ESDCanvas and bit.ly/ESDCanvas. We’ve been using Canvas for a couple of years, thanks to a helpful middle school math teacher, but I didn’t know that you could use the Canvas Calendar option to get a bigger-picture view until this webinar. I had my high schooler show me his calendar via his student log in, and it looks very useful with options for a week, month, or agenda view. I am sure many of you already know about this, but given the growing pains we’ve had and the posts I’m seeing, I figured we weren’t the only ones! For district technology support, you can call 425-431-1211 or send an email to techsupport@edmonds15.org.

The district is also posting many of the forums they’ve had, including the technology option earlier in the year, on its YouTube channel. YouTube.com/EdmondsSD also has the district’s new mental health series in English and Spanish, school board meetings, and video of the 1 millionth meal served this week!

While we’re talking about the district, it is currently taking applications for the Superintendent Student Advisory Committee (SAC). This committee, made up of student leaders in grades 9-12 from each of the district’s high schools, can develop “leadership, policymaking, and collaboration skills alongside a diverse community of peers,” according to the district announcement. “Students furthest from educational justice, including students who identify as Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC), LGBTQIA+, English Language Learners, undocumented, homeless/unhoused, foster, and students with disabilities are encouraged to apply.” Applications must be submitted via email to Joseph Valenti at valentij756@edmonds.wednet.edu by Friday, Oct. 23. For more information on the application and requirements, visit the Superintendent Student Advisory Committee page of the Edmonds School District site.

I was trying to think if all of my pandemic-era columns have mentioned the Sno-Isle Libraries. If not all, I would say most of them do. They always offer so many resources, but between Wi-Fi in the library parking lots to online book access and remote printing, they do more than ever now. I wanted to mention the Edmonds Library’s partnership with the Boys and Girls Club. To offer kids access to more books during distance learning, the Edmonds Library and Edmonds Boys and Girls Club have partnered up. The library is bringing books into the club and the kids are submitting requests for books they want to read, and sharing their favorites with others on a “Club Picks” poster to build a community of readers. The club said it is proud of their members for “keeping the books safe and wiping them clean after use this first week” and are grateful to the staff of the library for “making age-appropriate recommendations and packaging all the books for easy pick up!”

The Edmonds Library is still offering no-contact pick up of items at the branch, but now you don’t need to call ahead. I was able to show my ID (a library card works too) and pick up and drop off my books in the lobby.

— By Jennifer Marx

Jen Marx, an Edmonds mom of two boys, is always looking for a fun place to take the kids that makes them tired enough to go to bed on time.

 

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