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 Rodel Endaluz, the director of Southwest Food Excellence, carries a box of food March 20 at Thompson K-8 International Academy, 16300 Lincoln Drive. Local families are invited to take advantage of Southfield Public School’s free meal distribution program created in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Rodel Endaluz, the director of Southwest Food Excellence, carries a box of food March 20 at Thompson K-8 International Academy, 16300 Lincoln Drive. Local families are invited to take advantage of Southfield Public School’s free meal distribution program created in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Photo by Deb Jacques


Southfield Public Schools offers free meal distribution program

By: Kayla Dimick | Southfield Sun | Published June 9, 2020

 Patricia Henry, head cook at Thompson, places food in bags March 20 at the school.

Patricia Henry, head cook at Thompson, places food in bags March 20 at the school.

Photo by Deb Jacques

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SOUTHFIELD — According to Southfield Public Schools Superintendent Jennifer Martin Green, 60% of families depend on the school system for free or reduced meals daily.

When the coronavirus forced schools to shut their doors in March, the cafeteria doors remained open.

Through June 15, SPS is offering up to two meals per day to all children ages 18 and younger for free 8 a.m.-1 p.m. Mondays-Fridays at Thompson K-8 International Academy, 16300 Lincoln Dr. This includes students with disabilities, ages 18-26 with an active individual education program.

“The 60% figure was prior to this global pandemic, and prior to people losing their jobs and the shelter in place order. We anticipate that number is now higher,” Martin Green said.

Although schools were closed, Martin Green said Oakland County Schools Superintendent Wanda Cook-Robinson reached out to the Michigan Department of Education to ask for a waiver to be able to continue providing food service to district families.

Martin Green said that if families cannot make it to the brick-and-mortar location, the food can be brought to them.

Working with Southwest Food Excellence, which handles the food service at SPS, and First Student, the district’s transportation company, the district is implementing a Meals on Wheels distribution format, Martin Green said,  bringing the meals directly to bus stops in Southfield.

“Recognizing that not all students will be able to drive to brick-and-mortar locations, students who normally walk to bus stops can still walk to that bus stop for adequate nutrition,” Martin Green said.

Martin Green also said that, in order to get a meal, no proof of children attending SPS is required.

“If a parent comes and indicates they have three children under the age of 18, we will give them their meals, not requiring proof,” she said.

Monty Staggs, the CEO of Southwest Food Excellence, said the company was founded on a pledge to put child nutrition first.

“In these uncertain days, it has never been more important to ensure that all children are properly nourished, and we count it a privilege to help in that,” Staggs said in a prepared statement.

The district is also working with local food pantries to provide food for those who may not have a student in the family.

“Our biggest concern is getting the resources to the entire community, not just Southfield Public Schools students,” Martin Green said.

According to the SPS website, families can go to the following locations for food assistance:

Church of the Transfiguration
• (248) 356-8787​​​​​​
• 25225 Code Road, Southfield.
• 9-11:30 a.m. Mondays and Wednesdays

St. David’s Episcopal Church
• (248) 557-5430
• 16200 W. 12 Mile Road, Southfield
• 9 a.m.-noon Mondays-Fridays

Officials recommend  calling prior to visiting and bringing a photo ID.

After June 15, the district will change to its summer food assistance program, Meet Up and Eat up, officials said.

For more information, go to southfieldk12.org.

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