PHOTOS: Despite long line, spirits high at free lunch program at Bagdad ES in Leander

Wearing a mask, a pink cowboy hat and pink sunglasses, Leander ISD Child Nutrition Services' Sue Stifflemire indicates to her fellow workers how many students need meals in the next car in line at Bagdad Elementary School in Leander on March 25. (Brian Perdue/Community Impact Newspaper)
Wearing a mask, a pink cowboy hat and pink sunglasses, Leander ISD Child Nutrition Services' Sue Stifflemire indicates to her fellow workers how many students need meals in the next car in line at Bagdad Elementary School in Leander on March 25. (Brian Perdue/Community Impact Newspaper)

Wearing a mask, a pink cowboy hat and pink sunglasses, Leander ISD Child Nutrition Services' Sue Stifflemire indicates to her fellow workers how many students need meals in the next car in line at Bagdad Elementary School in Leander on March 25. (Brian Perdue/Community Impact Newspaper)

Image description
Vehicles waiting to get free breakfast and lunch bags for Leander ISD students March 25 snake through the parking lot at Bagdad Elementary School in Leander. (Brian Perdue/Community Impact Newspaper)
Image description
In 85-degree weather, two Leander ISD Child Nutrition Services employees carry a table loaded with student meals from the cafeteria to the pickup area at Bagdad Elementary School in Leander. (Brian Perdue/Community Impact Newspaper)
Image description
A Leander ISD Child Nutrition Services employee rushes to add juice to free meal bags March 25 at Bagdad Elementary School in Leander. (Brian Perdue/Community Impact Newspaper)
Image description
Leander ISD Superintendent Bruce Gearing directs traffic coming from both directions on Deercreek Lane into Bagdad Elementary School on March 25. (Brian Perdue/Community Impact Newspaper)
Image description
Leander ISD Child Nutrition Services employees help distribute breakfasts, in white bags, and lunches, in brown bags, March 25 at Bagdad Elementary School in Leander. (Brian Perdue/Community Impact Newspaper)
On the second day of free breakfast and lunch offerings to students by Leander ISD, 100 vehicles were in line at Bagdad Elementary School when the service began at 11:30 a.m. March 25.

Still, spirits were high.

Children in waiting vehicles hung out of windows waving to passersby and shouting to leashed dogs on the sidewalk. A smiling LISD Superintendent Bruce Gearing—hard to identify in a ballcap and sunglasses instead of his trademark suit—directed the traffic slowly entering the campus from Deercreek Lane. At the other end of the line, more than a dozen LISD Child Nutrition Services employees cheerfully greeted patient families.

The line started behind the school near the cafeteria and formed a large “S” in the parking lot before forking out onto both the northbound and southbound lanes of Deercreek Lane.

Once a vehicle reached the front of the line, drivers would tell LISD Child Nutrition Services' Sue Stifflemire—who stood nearly 10 feet from vehicles while wearing a mask, a pink cowboy hat and pink sunglasses—how many students needed meals. Stifflemire then would relay the number to the meal bag distributors by whiteboard or by holding up fingers.


CNS employees would then load the bags—white ones for breakfast, brown ones for lunch—onto a rolling cart for the driver to pick up without leaving their vehicle.

Near Stifflemire, a line for walkups formed, where one group at a time would walk up to a second cart with their meals.

Each student received a lunch for March 25 and a breakfast for March 26. Tuesday’s Bagdad menu included hot dogs for lunch and cereal and fruit for breakfast.

The free meals, which aims to aid students who rely upon nutrition at school, will continue through at least April 3.

To aid students during that time who rely upon meals at school, LISD is offering free meal pickup from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. during school days at the following locations:

  • Bagdad Elementary School, 800 Deercreek Lane, Leander;

  • Reed Elementary School, 1515 Little Elm Trail, Cedar Park;

  • River Place Elementary School, 6500 Sitio Del Rio Blvd., Austin; and

  • Running Brushy Middle School, 2303 Lakeline Blvd., Austin.


On Tuesdays only, all four sites will also offer breakfast from 7:30-9 a.m.

The free meals are available to all LISD students. Proof of enrollment will not be required, but Texas Department of Agriculture guidelines require that a student be present during pickup.
By Brian Perdue

Brian Perdue is the editor of the Cedar Park-Leander edition of Community Impact Newspaper. A native of Virginia's Appalachian Mountains, he has been a journalist since 1992, living and working in Virginia, Washington D.C., Hawaii's Big Island, Southern California and Florida before moving to Austin in 2019.


MOST RECENT

A $4.3 billion project to improve I-35 through Central Austin will include a $600 million piece that will be provided by deferring other projects in the area. (Courtesy Texas Department of Transportation)
Local political leaders look to free up $600 million for I-35 by potentially waiting on local projects such as Loop 360, RM 620, US 79 and Parmer Lane

The Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization is scheduled to vote April 13 on a list of projects to defer in order to fund an I-35 improvement project.

These local restaurants are offering special Sunday brunch, lunch or dinner menus for delivery and carryout. (Graphic by Kara Nordstrom/Community Impact Newspaper)
Eat local: Order Easter brunch and dinner to go from these Cedar Park, Leander restaurants

These local restaurants are offering special Sunday brunch, lunch or dinner menus for delivery and carryout.

Minerva, captured here, is an eastern screech owl in Northwest Austin who laid five eggs that are expected to hatch sometime in April. (Courtesy Merlin the Owl)
WATCH HERE: Northwest Austin webcam streaming owlet eggs set to hatch in April

A Northwest Austin resident set up a webcam to capture two owls raise their owlets.

Yesenia and Antonio Morales welcomed their fourth child, Luka, on March 31. (Christopher Neely/Community Impact Newspaper)
Pregnancies won't stop in a pandemic, but growing precautions leave expecting mothers uncertain and anxious

As the coronavirus tightens its grip on Austin and much of the world, inevitable human events such as pregnancy and childbirth are having to adapt in the new, cautious and socially distanced reality.

A driver receives a laptop device for a Leander ISD elementary student April 7 at River Ridge Elementary School. (Courtesy Leander ISD)
Leander ISD begins distributing 6,000 Chromebooks to elementary students

Leander ISD began distributing approximately 6,000 Chromebrooks to elementary school students for distance learning April 7.

Rush Automotive in Leander is scheduled to open this year. (Brian Perdue/Community Impact Newspaper)
Rush Automotive to open location in Leander this year despite coronavirus

Rush Automotive, an auto-repair center, in Leander is scheduled to open this year.

Williamson County added $2.5 million to a coronavirus relief fund April 7. (Ali Linan/Community Impact Newspaper)
Williamson County adds $2.5M to coronavirus relief fund, reinstates weekly meetings

The Williamson County Commissioners Court meetings are being done virtually.

Williamson County predicts 100,000 sick, deaths in the hundreds during coronavirus pandemic. (Community Impact Staff)
Williamson County predicts 100,000 sick, deaths in the hundreds during coronavirus pandemic

County projections predict the peak will hit between mid-May and early June.

Coronavirus stories readers might have missed from the Austin area

Here are nine stories Austin-area readers might have missed in our previous coverage.

Gregory Fenves will step down as the president of the University of Texas on June 30, according to a letter he wrote April 7 to the UT community. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
University of Texas President Gregory Fenves to leave for Emory University in Atlanta

University of Texas at Austin President Greg Fenves announced in a letter to the UT community that he will leave the state’s flagship college for Emory University.

Abbott's order closes all state parks and historical sites effective 5 p.m. April 7. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Gov. Abbott closes state parks, historical sites due to coronavirus concerns

Abbott said the closure is to help prevent large gatherings and strengthen social distancing.