Local organizations step up to help provide meals during remote instruction in Tomball, Magnolia

Balanced Foods is offering a $30 student meal plan with lunches and snacks for the week. (Courtesy Balanced Foods)
Balanced Foods is offering a $30 student meal plan with lunches and snacks for the week. (Courtesy Balanced Foods)

Balanced Foods is offering a $30 student meal plan with lunches and snacks for the week. (Courtesy Balanced Foods)

Candice Weeter, co-owner of Balanced Foods, a healthy prepackaged meal company, said she decided to create a weekly meal program for children while remote learning is the only option.

“A lot of families are in a tough situation; we felt it was our responsibility as a healthy food company to provide for the families,” she said. “[We want to] take a little bit of stress [off of them] where we could help.”

Weeter said the meal plan will begin Aug. 3 and will cost $30 for a week’s worth of meals. The plan includes five meals and five snacks for the week.

“We made sure we were focusing on the children,” she said. “They are the No. 1 priority in everyone's life.”

Balanced Foods has locations in Magnolia, Tomball and Vintage Park, Weeter said.

“Nutrition has a ton to do with how people act and the energy people have,” Weeter said. “We are trying to make sure it is balanced a bit better, so the parents [can make sure their children] have proper nutrition.”

Balanced Foods will offer both pickup and delivery options, with delivery only available on Sundays and adding $5-$10 in charges, Weeter said.

“We’ll deliver anywhere in Houston,” Weeter said. “We’ll deliver to Katy, Sugar Land, The Woodlands, Spring, Tomball, Conroe—we’ll deliver everywhere.”

Weeter said over 100 people have signed up for the plan and Balanced Foods has yet to market it.

“We have about a hundred families lined up, and that is just from very little social marketing,” she said. “But we have the capability to do thousands, and we are ready and prepared to do what we need to do.”

Weeter said when schools start to open back up, she sees this option as something families can continue to use.

“A lot of people can’t have microwaves [at school], so we would adjust the meals to be prepared for the way that they would be going to school,” she said.

Magnolia-based Society of Samaritans will hold another food drive Aug. 11 to collect items specifically for children, as Community Impact Newspaper previously reported.

Society of Samaritans Assistant Director Becky Conner said the success of the last food drive earlier this year gave them the idea to do another one.

“The kids—being home and not in school, they are not getting the nutrition they need,” she said. “They are not getting the free or reduced lunches, and we are trying to bridge that gap.”

Conner said at the previous food drive, Society of Samaritans received 5,000 pounds of food, and she expects the next one to be about the same.

“If we do see a continuance in the virtual learning, we will host another food drive, probably within 60 days,” she said.

Conner said a lot of what they request for the remote learning food drives are things children can make themselves, like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and cereal.

“We are just trying to give a little boost to the children and community,” she said.

Tomball Emergency Assistance Ministries, which operates a food pantry at 300 W. Main St., Tomball, has seen an increased need in food for children, Executive Director Barry Hart said.

"We have been asking for more snack items, like cheese crackers, canned pasta and juice boxes," Hart said. "Things we know school-aged children enjoy."

Hart said the local community has been very helpful at donating items TEAM has asked for its food pantry.

"We are doing more than we have done in the past," he said. "More families are coming in, just in general, because they are unemployed or underemployed."

Tomball and Magnolia ISD are also adapting to help remote students keep access to school meals.

Magnolia ISD will provide its free curbside meal pickup until Aug. 11. However, the district is planning to offer some new options to families this fall, MISD Director of Communications Denise Meyers said.

Meyers said the district will be offering a meal program with curbside pickups and targeted deliveries to 32 neighborhoods from Aug. 12-Sept. 4.

“Curbside meals will be available Monday-Friday at all elementary, intermediate and high school campuses,” Meyers said. “Breakfast and lunch can be picked up between 9 a.m.-noon.”

Costs for the meals will depend on the student’s grade level and status. Those which qualify for free lunches will have no cost. Reduced lunch costs will be $0.30 for breakfast and $0.40 for lunch.

Elementary lunches will cost $2.45, and secondary lunches will cost $2.70. Curbside meal options will remain available when MISD schools reopen, but targeted neighborhood deliveries will end.

Tomball ISD’s free meal program ended June 17; however, meals will be available for curbside pickup starting Aug. 18, according to a TISD Facebook post.

“Unlike our spring and summer meal distribution where meals were free to all students, meals will be provided to students at cost based on students’ eligibility,” according to the post. “[This means] that if students would normally pay a full or reduced cost for a school lunch, students will have to pay that amount for curbside meal service during our virtual start.


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