Coronavirus Bay Area: Novato Unified serves student meals amid school closures due to COVID-19

NOVATO, Calif. (KGO) -- Hundreds of thousands of Bay Area students receive free and reduced meals at school. With schools closed, many districts are stepping up to make sure those children don't go hungry.

Forty-one percent of Bay Area students are eligible for free or reduced meals. That's more than 400,000 students who might not have a meal if they can't go to school.

With schools closed for the foreseeable future due to COVID-19, many districts are stepping up with free grab-and-go meals.

Novato Unified School District is one of them.

"Anybody under the age of 18 can come to our area of our pickup stations that we have to pick up a free meal," said Cody Williams, food services director for Novato Unified School District.

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"We have a wonderful team of professionals that work for us and our school district and we are providing meals for about 500 kids in our community," Williams said.

Many of those kids' parents and guardians are driving by to pick up the meals from professionals in protective gear.

"I think meals are very important for families who are kind of short on money and laid off from work," said parent Thelma Escobar.

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"It's really helpful during this time to get the kids their schooling and then kind of bring them to lunch... it helps with their schedule," said parent Jill Parker.

"It says that they really care that the kids have breakfast and lunch every day," Parker continued.

One way school officials are making sure children are well fed and have some sense of routine in their otherwise unexpected school year.

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