Erica Trinidad-Teran, a middle school graduation specialist with the Ontario School District, works her route Friday morning, hand-delivering school lunches to district students home during the government mandated closure of the state’s schools. (The Enterprise/Yadira Lopez)
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ONTARIO – Two weeks in, Erica Trinidad-Teran already knows the houses by heart. Trinidad-Teran is among the Ontario School District staff members that has been volunteering to distribute lunches to district students since schools closed on March 16 over COVID-19 concerns.
Other county school districts are doing the same. In Ontario, parents can pick up lunches themselves on weekdays from 10:30 to 11:30 at Alameda and May Roberts elementary schools, Ontario High School and Sierra Vista Apartments.
But Trinidad-Teran, a middle school graduation specialist, and her coworkers in the district’s Migrant Education Program have drawn up routes to hand-deliver some of the meals.
Agriculture is one of the essential industries considered exempt from the governor’s temporary shutdown. Trinidad-Teran said many of the district’s students have parents who work in the fields or in food processing plants and are unable to make it out to the pick-up sites.
Trinidad-Teran starts her route by loading up her car with brown bags assembled by cafeteria staff at Ontario High School, before heading to a trailer park in southwest Ontario where some of the district’s students live.
Schools won’t reopen until April 28 and Trinidad-Teran said the district is still figuring out how it will continue to distribute the meals. “The kids are always on my mind,” she said as she loaded bags from her car to a small, collapsible wagon Friday morning.
The brown bag lunches contain a breakfast and lunch. Sandwiches, a piece of fruit and a breakfast bar went inside Friday’s bags.
She’s done the same route, which takes her about an hour, for two weeks now and knows which homes house district students. She takes the number of bags she needs in gloved hands and knocks on the door or leaves the lunches on the porch.
When no one answers the door, she leaves the lunches on the front porch. (The Enterprise/Yadira Lopez)
The staff delivering lunches is wearing gloves to heed health and safety recommendations. (The Enterprise/Yadira Lopez)
Trinidad-Teran counts out how many bags she needs before heading toward one of the homes. (The Enterprise/Yadira Lopez)
The brown bags contain enough food for breakfast and lunch. Friday morning the bags held a sandwich, fruit and a cereal bar. (The Enterprise/Yadira Lopez)
After two weeks of working her route, Trinidad-Teran doesn’t need to consult her list anymore. She knows exactly where to go and how many bags are needed for each home. (The Enterprise/Yadira Lopez)
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