COVID-19 concerns causing chaos -- ISDs work to feed students during shut down

by By Cristin Parker

Volunteers and local school district officials have been making sure every school-aged child isn’t going hungry this week, as the county’s ISDs continue to be closed as numbers of cases of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) continue to increase.

Cherokee County schools opted to extend their spring breaks by another week on Friday, March 13, to help combat the spread of COVID-19.

The North East Texas Public Health and Smith and Cherokee counties’ school district officials are meeting again on Friday, March 20, to reevaluate the situation and make a decision on whether or not to keep schools closed. That decision is anticipated to be announced by 5 p.m., Friday.

In the meantime, Cherokee County youth up to age 18 can still get lunches – and in some cases breakfast too – at various locations around the county. Children must be present to receive meals at all locations.

Members of Falvey Baptist Church in Wells stepped up to fill the gap as Wells ISD wasn’t able to start serving meals until Tuesday, March 17.

Church members donated food items and funds to build lunches; volunteered their time to pack and deliver meals; and even made sure leftover resources made it to those who needed them the next day.

“Falvey fed 33 children Monday with donations of $180 and an abundance of food from Wells people,” volunteer Jamie Harris posted on the Wells News Facebook page on Monday. “We are so thankful for you!

“Due to the generosity of Wells people Falvey is going to make one more delivery (Tuesday) with a bag full, including a sandwich, chips, two cookies, two crackers, two fruit snacks and two drinks.

“We pray that these children have a safe and healthy time while they are away from school. Wells, you give and give and give -- God bless you all and thank you for your help!”

Wells ISD is offering breakfast and lunches for pickup, 8-10 a.m. Alternative sites providing meals for WISD students include:

• Wright Patman, 1-1:15 p.m.

• Around Wells First Baptist Church, 1:20-1:30 p.m.

• Manor Loop 1:45-2 p.m.


Rusk ISD fed 172 students on Tuesday, March 17 – the first day the district served meals -- in a grab-n-go format. Each lunch includes additional breakfast items for the next day.
The Rusk Elementary School campus is the district’s main serving location and is open, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Volunteers are also handing out meals from a Rusk ISD vehicle from 11:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. at these alternate locations:

• Rusk Primary School (rear parking lot)

• Flowers by Janae (Loop 343 N)

• Covenant Church on the Hill (Hwy. 69 N)

• Timber Creek Apartments (Hwy. 84 W)

• former location of Honey’s convenience store (Hwy. 84, near turn off to Jim Hogg Park)


Alto ISD is offering meals through Friday, March 20 to all enrolled students. The meal will include a lunch and a breakfast for the following morning.

“Please call (936) 858-7126 and give the number of student meals your household will need,” school officials requested. “We encourage all of our families to use this outreach to aid in this stressful time.”

Meals can be picked up daily in the Alto Elementary School pick-up line, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. each day.

“Because of this being a rapidly changing situation, we ask for your patience and flexibility over the coming days,” Superintendent Kelly West stated in a letter to district parents released on Friday, March 13.


Bullard ISD is providing lunch for all Bullard ISD students, 18 years of age and younger, during the district’s closure. Lunches will be provided as a “grab and go” from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., through Friday, March 20, at Bullard Elementary School.

“We realize that many may not be able to get to the elementary campus,” BISD officials stated in a social media post. “In order to ensure that our students have the most opportunities possible to take advantage of lunch, BISD volunteers will also deliver sack lunches to students at key locations through Friday of this week.”

Volunteers will be onsite with lunches from 11:30-11:50 a.m. each day at:

• the front gate area Shadybrook west for east and west

• the front gate area Lakewood west for east and west

• Lakeway Harbor east, 155 office area

• Lakeway Harbor west, front gate

• Shell Shores/Cedar Bay, front of Shell Shores Drive

• Petty Estates - (Delivery about 11:50)

“Again, lunches must be picked up by students 18 years of age or younger,” BISD Superintendent Jack Lee said in a statement. “This is a pick-up lunch only, students will not be allowed in the facilities to eat.”

I realize that this is a difficult time for many. As a school district, our priority will always be the safety and security of our students, staff, and community as a whole. This is an unprecedented situation for all school districts throughout the state, and these decisions are not taken lightly. Again, I ask for patience and understanding during this time. We will post regular updates on our school website and social media accounts as available.


Jacksonville ISD continues to offer to-go lunches to JISD students during the district’s closure. Lunches are available from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., weekdays, at the Waco Street cafeteria door at East Side Elementary School campus. Students must be in the car to receive food.

New Summerfield

There was no date for New Summerfield ISD as of Tuesday, March 17.