CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The Coastal Bend Food Bank's Backpack Program provides bags of food on weekends and school holidays to around 750 Coastal Bend schoolkids, who rely on the school cafeteria for breakfast and lunch, because of their situations at home.
Double-sized bags of food go home with students over Spring Break, because of the length of the holiday. The food bank is preparing a second round of double-sized bags to cover the second week of Spring Break that CCISD called for over concerns about the coronavirus.
"If the children are going to be out of school next week, we will have all these backpacks ready," Coastal Bend Food Bank Executive Director Bea Hanson said. "If the schools request it, they will be able to distribute them to the children."
But there's a complication in the distribution system. Before leaving school for the weekend or a school holiday, a student would normally go to the school counselor's office to discreetly load the food into his or her backpack. With schools closed, the district is working on another method.
"CCISD is looking at options for distributing the (bags of food)," CCISD Director of Communications Leanne Libby said in a text message. "We will share details once we have finalized the plan."
The Junior League pays for the Backpack Program during Spring Break every year, but it will be the food bank holding the bill for this year's coronavirus-caused second week. Hanson said they have the necessary supplies in stock. But if CCISD were to cancel more school days, the food bank might have to look to outside sources.
"It will be not different than it was with (Hurricane Harvey)," Hanson said. "When there's an emergency, then we access other food banks or other sources, and we make sure families have what they need."