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Copperas Cove neighbors working to feed more families in need

One of the meals being prepared for CCISD students.
Posted at 6:39 PM, Apr 10, 2024

COPPERAS COVE, Texas — The U.S. Department of Agriculture awarded CCISD’s Child Nutrition department its 2023 Turnip the Beet award for excellence, recognizing outstanding summer meal program sponsors across the nation who work hard to provide high-quality meals to children that are appetizing, appealing and nutritious during the summer months, according to a press release sent out by the district.

CCISD received the Gold Award, one of just 19 schools in Texas and 55 in the country to receive that level of award. In total, the USDA recognized only 140 schools across the country.

“What an exciting honor to win the USDA Turnip the Beet Award for our outstanding Summer 2023 Taste of Texas Lone Star Luau event,” CCISD Director of Child Nutrition Melissa Bryan said.

“I grew up on my grandparent’s farm, had forty acres — we had a two acre garden, so I learned about fresh fruits and vegetables, so I take those things that I did as a kid and bring them to the kids here."

CCISD has an estimated 62 percent of students who receive free or reduced-price meals each day this year.

Last summer, the district provided 11,000 lunches and 6,000 breakfasts.

This summer, they are preparing more meals and encouraging staff to get more families involved.

The 2024 summer feeding program will be run from Summer School sites in the district.

More information on the CCISD Child Nutrition program can be found at []

From schools to streets, Joseph Solomon helps run Refuge Mobile Food Pantries — he is executive director of the Refuge Corporation.

The Refuge Mobile Food Pantry goes to different locations in the area once a month to provide bags of food for families in need.

Solomon says that every month, they see 50-150 new families.

He said he and his team talk to these families and he shares with me what’s driving up the demand for free food.

"They don’t have enough to buy the amount of food that they need — the cost of food has gone up," he said.

Click here to learn more about the organization and distribution locations.

You can also find Central Texas Food Bank distribution locations by clicking here.