Santa Ana Unified has served more than 5 million meals during the pandemic

A year after Santa Ana Unified began providing free, nutritious food to local children impacted by campus closures, the district has reached a noteworthy milestone: Its staff has now served more than 5 million meals.

“When campuses shut down last March, we didn’t know for how long,” said Josh Goddard, SAUSD’s director of Nutrition Services. “Yet our Board of Education made clear: SAUSD was committed to providing the nutrition our students and community children need, and in many cases rely upon.”

Graphic celebrating 5 million meals served in SAUSDIn May 2020, as districts across the county were issuing grab-and-go breakfasts and lunches, Santa Ana served its one millionth meal, marking the occasion with a brief ceremony that honored the contributions of district staff. Later that month, the district launched a summer meal program that ran through July 2020.

As the pandemic continued into the fall, the district expanded its meal distribution schedule to include six different time slots to better accommodate the schedules of working families. This month, SAUSD also began serving weekend meals to children.

Children are now served a breakfast, lunch, snack and a “super snack” for both Saturday and Sunday in addition to Friday’s distribution times, the district said in a news release.

“Though we wish to never again experience such a devastating crisis, we hope the community feels some comfort knowing they can always count on SAUSD,” Goddard said.