By Anne Gibson

School buildings may be closed to students in the Vail School District, but the district began serving free sack lunches to any child 18 years of age and under on Tuesday, March 31st.

Seven schools in the Vail School District set up assembly lines to make fresh sandwiches and to fill 2,100 white paper bags with sandwiches, apples, and other nutritious kid friendly foods. Each bag contains food for lunch and breakfast the next morning.

The distribution of the bags occurred at the seven participating schools and at school bus stops including stops at additional schools. The seven participating schools are Corona Foothills Middle School, Desert Willow Elementary School, Esmond Station K-8, Mesquite Elementary School, Ocotillo Ridge Elementary School, Old Vail Middle School, and Rincon Vista Middle School. Vail school buses were load with bags and driver drove their regular routes, stopping at each bus stop for ten minutes to deliver their precious cargo to children waiting at the stop. Children should be present to receive a bag.

 The program will be offering free lunches five days a week from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. for eight weeks, which is the end of the traditional school year. Vail teachers will continue to offer educational study through virtual means such as Zoom as they were doing prior to Arizona Governor Ducey’s closing Arizona schools. It is hoped the Governor’s action will slow incidents of the COVID-19 virus.

The program is an effort on the part of the District to assure no child is going hungry when the school hot lunch program is not in operation.

The program is funded by USBA through the Arizona Department of Education. District funds are used as needed.

The planning committee members for the program, under the leadership of Heather Stough, District Community Liaison Director, were Peggy Benston-Runyon, Jerry Brown, Sonia Carrillo, Michelle Quiroz, Della Ruiz, Stefanie Stark, Mark Tate, and Rena Wittwer.

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Anne Gibson