NUSD meal program

A Sodexo employee braves the cold weather to hand out free lunches to families with children at noon on Wednesday.

The Nogales Unified School District will switch to once-a-day service at 12 of its 13 grab-and-go meal sites, effective Monday, March 23.

NUSD, through its food service provider Sodexo, began distributing free grab-and-go meals during separate breakfast and lunch periods starting March 16, the first day of the statewide mandatory school closure meant to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

It decided to switch to a one-time distribution of both breakfast and lunch to minimize exposure risks for students, their parents and food service staff, said Natalie Ainza, local manager for Sodexo.

The one site that will continue to offer both meals is the Boys and Girls Club of Santa Cruz County, which has extended its operating hours from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. in response to the school closures.

Ainza said youth 18 and under will be able to pick up free take-away breakfasts and lunches at the same time at the other 12 sites. Adults can purchse the meals.

The breakfasts include items such as mini French toast, breakfast pizza, cereal and breakfast bars, while the lunches feature favorites such as pepperoni pizza, chicken tender sandwich and Italian dunkers.

“We’re trying to find the things they like the most – like the hot dogs and corn dogs, the pizza,” Ainza said, adding: “But at the same time we’re making sure that temperature- and food safety-wise, it’s not something that’s going to go bad, that they can eat it where they can pop it in the microwave when mom gets home, or they can eat it without having to pop it in the microwave if mom and dad aren’t home.

During the first week of service, she said, Sodexo was serving 50-60 meals daily per NUSD site and adjusting supply at individual sites to meet demand.

“We are getting the number of kids we expected, but we want it to be higher,” Ainza said. “We’re serving about 600 kids right now, breakfast and lunch together, but we want to be able to serve 1,000 kids in one day.”

There are 5,609 students enrolled at NUSD schools, she said, and the district “is ready to serve as many meals as we need to serve” — even if it means having to order supplies from global food distributor Sysco.

She noted that the NUSD summer meals program runs for two months, so they know how to operate the service for an extended period of time, if needed.

The Santa Cruz Valley Unified School District is also providing free grab-and-go meals to youth 18 and under from 11 a.m.-1 p.m., Monday-Friday, at Coatimundi Middle School, Mountain View Elementary School and Calabasas School.

Updated NUSD grab-and-go meal schedule

The Nogales Unified School District’s 13 meal sites are as follows. Effective March 23, they’ll offer service Monday-Friday, except where noted, during the following hours:

AJ Mitchell Elementary School, 855 N. Bautista St.

  • 10:30 a.m.-11:15 a.m.

Monte Carlo Park, 386 E. Calle Sonora

  • 10:30 a.m.-11:15 a.m.

Mountain Point Apartments, 800 Baffert Dr.

  • 11:30 a.m.-12:15 p.m.

Boys & Girls Club, 590 N. Tyler Ave.

  • Breakfast: 8:25-8:40 a.m.
  • Lunch: Noon-12:20 p.m.

Las Terrazas Apartments, 661 E. Patagonia Hwy

  • 10:30 a.m.-11:15 a.m. 

Salud Por Vida Community Center, 350 W. Western Ave.

  • 11:30 a.m.-12:15 p.m.

Villa Hermosa Apartments, 3208 N. Calle Villa Hermosa

  • 10:30 a.m.-11:15 a.m.

Community Food Bank, 2636 N. Donna Ave.

  • 11:30 a.m.-12:15 p.m. (Tuesday-Friday service only)

Loma Mariposa Apartments, 1790 N. Loma Mariposa

  • 10:30 a.m.-11:15 a.m.

Mariposa Manor, 945 W. Manor Dr.

  • 11:30 a.m.-12:15 p.m.

Nogales Public Library, 518 N. Grand Ave.

  • 11:30 a.m.-12:15 p.m.

Pete Kitchen Trailer Park, Cochise Dr.

  • 11:30 a.m.-12:15 p.m.

Rolling Hills, near Coronado Elementary School, Al Harrison Road

  • 10:30 a.m.-11:15 a.m.
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