Mill Valley School District
The pandemic has challenged our schools to develop new ways to educate students, whether it be virtual, in-person or a hybrid model of learning. Cafeterias are a thing of the past—at least for now—and gone is the model of salad bars, buffets and mix-and-match meals. Schools are rethinking how to feed students, especially those who were receiving free and reduced breakfasts and lunches. The Mill Valley School District (MVSD) has adapted to this new reality and now offers all families a pre-packaged five-day lunch box from Choicelunch, a healthy school lunch delivery business serving Northern and Southern California.
MVSD has five elementary schools and one middle school, with approximately 2600 students, more than half of whom are participating in the lunch program.
It is difficult to predict how many families will arrive to pick up the boxed lunches each week. Kids can be picky about what they like to eat. And, the box lunches have limited choices. As a result, there are unclaimed lunches available regularly to donate to ExtraFood. An ExtraFood volunteer picks up 140-160 lunches each week and delivers them to Next Generation Scholars, which serves kids from low-income families, and Ritter Center, which serves the homeless and precariously housed. We applaud one of the food service workers at MVSD who knew about ExtraFood and encouraged the district to donate the meals. What an excellent partnership, which we hope to continue once the students return to campus!
Ellen has been an ExtraFood volunteer since March 2014 and just hit a major milestone of 800 food trips, rescuing over 43,000 pounds of food! Ellen has been a regular volunteer with ExtraFood from almost the beginning. She currently does a weekly Kaiser trip and has done many various trips through the years. Ellen was also one of the first volunteers at the Sunday Farmers’ Market and volunteered on many Sundays for three years!
Ellen’s positive energy and smile are such a welcome sight for all of the recipient partners she has worked with - Parnow Friendship House, St. Vincent de Paul Society, Novato House and many more! Ellen has also volunteered and worked hard on many volunteer appreciation events and special projects like our last photo shoot - she is always willing to help in any way she can. Thank you Ellen for your years of loyalty and dedication to ExtraFood and our partners. You are an amazing ambassador and have made such a meaningful difference in the community. We appreciate your generous gift of time and spirt to the ExtraFood mission for the past seven years!
North Bay Children’s Center - Tinker Way Site
Parents everywhere are having to adapt to the evolving changes brought on by COVID-19. The pandemic has particularly exacerbated the challenges that low-income families with children face on a daily basis, which has increased their need for psychological, nutritional and educational support. Knowing the additional challenges their families are facing, North Bay Children’s Center’s Tinker Way site in Novato is an ExtraFood recipient partner that continues to support their families with extra care and kindness. Typically they serve 56 families—30-35 kids per day, ages 6-11—of which 90% are low-income. Currently, in their reduced on-site capacity, they are working with 24 children but are still serving all their families with “open arms” in a variety of ways.
ExtraFood started a food program with Tinker Way 3 ½ years ago. Annette and Brent Knipe, lead staff members at Tinker Way, commented, “The food deliveries, which arrive three times a week, put big smiles on our families’ faces. We assemble boxes of food from the food that ExtraFood brings and our families are always grateful for this additional support. We are like a big, extended family who continues to support all of our families, past and present, in any way we can.” ExtraFood is proud to partner with this wonderful organization that wholeheartedly embraces their mission to serve young families in their community.