Laupahoehoe school receives grant to feed kids during the COVID-19 pandemic

  • Courtesy photo Laupahoehoe Community Public Charter School kindergarten student Zoey Stressman poses for a photo in November.

  • Courtesy photo LCPCS lead office assistant Loida Navalta, office assistant/health nurse Rochelle Evangelista and school aide Marriene Jabilona prepare meals for delivery.

  • Courtesy photo LCPCS school cook Josefine Navalta and Jabilona pack lunches to be delivered. Navalta has many years of restaurant and cafeteria experience, and nothing comes out of her kitchen unless it follows the guidelines of the No Kid Hungry program and it tastes great.

  • Courtesy photo Laupahoehoe Community Public Charter School food service manager Juliet Higgins prepares meals to be delivered. Higgins is responsible for the menu planning, ordering, improvising when something doesn’t come in and, most importantly, that her crew works in the safest manner possible to keep everyone healthy.

  • Courtesy photo Laupahoehoe Community Public Charter School office administrator and school food service director Tracy Jardine delivers a grab-and-go meal. Jardine oversees the food service operation as well as dives in and helps when necessary to pack and deliver meals to students and families.

Laupahoehoe Community Public Charter School recently received a $20,000 grant from No Kid Hungry to supplement its food service during the coronavirus pandemic. Thanks to this generous gift, each week students can reserve a “meal kit” that contains a nutritious breakfast and lunch for the days they are doing distance learning at home.

LCPCS is delivering packaged meals to individual classrooms during the blended learning school days. This assures that all kids are fed every day, even on days they do not physically attend classes. It will make no difference if a student’s instructional day is on or off campus — food will be provided for them.

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“Whether students are learning in a classroom or online, they need nutritious food to reach their full potential,” said Pam Elders, LCPCS governing board chairwoman. “Before COVID, many families were already at risk for food insecurity and, unfortunately, the pandemic has made day-to-day survival a lot tougher. Because many families are experiencing job loss or a reduction in pay due to the coronavirus pandemic, food insecurity is a growing threat to children’s well-being.”

The 2018 Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed threshold for a family of four was $76,632 per year. On Hawaii Island, 48% of households fall below that threshold — the bare minimum cost to live here. At LCPCS, nearly 70% of the students live in a household eligible for a free meal at school, which means their families have an annual income below $39,169 for a family of four.

Because of the number of qualifying households, meals are served at no-cost to all students at LCPCS.

These meals prepared by LCPCS cafeteria staff will make a big difference for students during the pandemic. In these times, children need to focus on learning, not how they are going to cope with hunger.

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“Of course, it takes many more than the few who are listed here to help keep this campus safe and clean and to make sure that our students are fed so they can keep up on their on-campus learning as well as their distance learning … ,” said Kurt Evan Rix, LCPCS director. “We would like to thank all the employees here who make this happen.”

No Kid Hungry is ending childhood hunger by helping launch and improve programs that give all kids the healthy food they need to thrive. For more information, visit NoKidHungry.org.

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