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TUSD food program provides daily meals to thousands of students during COVID-19 pandemic

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TUCSON - The Tucson Unified School District has started a grab-and-go meal program to make sure kids don’t go hungry during these stressful times of the COVID-19 pandemic.

TUSD district leaders say 70 percent of students qualify for free or reduced lunch.

With the statewide school closure due to COVID-19, the district is making sure the nutrition program continues.

“Any child 18 and under can get these free meals,” TUSD Food Services Coordinator, Lindsay Aguilar said. “They don’t have to be TUSD students so, we’re able to provide meals to all children regardless of what school that they attend.”

Instead of dropping off kids, 12 drivers and their buses are making 113 stops, dropping off lunch and the next day’s breakfast to about 4,000 students across the district.

“Being able to provide this during the closure is something that a lot of our families really rely on and it’s a great need during this difficult time,” Aguilar said.

Parents of students are feeling positively overwhelmed by this gesture.

“It’s a heartwarming feeling," one parent said. "I just, I’m so grateful to these people."

Cindy Graybill is a bus driver who has been with TUSD more than 30 years.

Under the circumstances, Graybill said there’s no other job more rewarding and there’s no other place she’d rather be.

“This means everything to some families,” Graybill said. “We have families waiting for us, a hundred people at our school bus stops. You should see the smiles and the blessings out of handing the kids the meals every day.”

Eric Fink

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