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School District Launches Sack Lunch Distribution
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A student, escorted by her mother, walked to Cloverland Elementary School on Monday, March 23 to pick up a sack lunch as well as breakfast in a two-day supply. District staff members hand out the lunches and also hold up signs indicating Cloverland as the distribution site. Teresa Hammond/The Leader

Oakdale Joint Unified Schools may be shut down, but they still have work to do.

Monday, March 23 marked the first day of sack lunch pick-up following the closure of school sites districtwide that took effect on Thursday, March 19.

“We’re open for the three days but we’re giving out two lunches on Monday,” OJUSD Director of Nutrition Service, Angie Cazares said from Cloverland Elementary school on Monday.

Cazares shared pick-ups for the initial week would be hosted Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 11 a.m. to noon; March 23, 25 and 27.

Pickups on Monday and Wednesday would be two sack lunches and two breakfasts, with one of each being provided on Friday, totaling five meals each for lunch and breakfast. Children must be present at pick-up in order for their meals to be provided. District Superintendent Marc Malone earlier indicated that there is no income requirement for the lunches; they are being distributed to all students, regardless of qualification for free and/or reduced meals.

The Cloverland location was chosen as the pick-up spot, however, due to its percentage of students receiving the reduced cost or free lunches. The sack lunch distribution is open to all OJUSD students, T-K through seniors.

“What we’re doing is for who shows up. This program is really for whoever shows up and needs to eat,” Cazares stated.

She added staff was utilized prior to the shutdown to assemble lunches. Each student is given a basic sack lunch being packed with a sandwich, chips or crackers, fruit, etc.

“We actually have no idea,” she said of the number of estimated lunches that will be given to students. “We wanted to be overly prepared and not have to turn anybody away.”

Cazares also stated the program will be re-evaluated on Friday, March 27 and possibly restructured to a once a week pick-up for all five days, depending on what seems to work best. The program will continue through Wednesday, April 8 staying in compliance with the district calendar. Sack lunches will not be issued during the previously scheduled Spring Break from April 10 through April 17. Details of changes can be learned via the district website at or by recorded message at 209-847-9666.

“Definitely by the end of this week,” Cazares continued of learning as they go. “We’ll be able to see where we’re at. How much we can make and if we’ll be able to service everybody in that hour.”

Sack lunches are also being delivered for distribution by Valley Home School. Knights Ferry School indicated to the district’s central kitchen that they were not in need of sack lunch services at this time.

“This is going really well,” Cazares said as her staff delivered lunches to students arriving in automobiles as well as on foot during the distribution hour on Monday. “Everybody seems to be in good spirits, the kids are happy getting the lunch and so are their parents. It feels good to be able to do that for them.”

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OJUSD cafeteria employees, as well as district employees were on hand Monday, March 23 as they launched the Sack Lunch program open to all students in the Oakdale Joint Unified School District. The next distributions will be Wednesday, March 25 and Friday, March 27 at Cloverland Elementary. Teresa Hammond/The Leader