Richardson ISD will be able to provide families with a box of provisions for the weekend through partnerships with Network of Community Ministries, Café Momentum E.A.T.S, LakePointe Church and the Lake Highlands Junior Women’s League.

On March 27, Network donated more than 1,000 boxes of food and Café Momentum donated another 1,000. Both partners boosted the number of boxes for this week, and these weekend boxes will be available at least through the middle of May.

The North Texas Food Bank has waived its handling fees for the next six weeks, Network CEO Cindy Shafer said. Therefore, Network has access to all the food it needs. Now it needs volunteers.

Shafer said the nonprofit — located at 741 S. Sherman Street near the Spring Valley DART station — respects all mandated social distancing protocols for its volunteers. If you are able, please consider volunteering.

“The relationship we formed with Dr. Stone and her team after the tornado built a level of trust that allowed us to seamlessly transition into a plan that enables us to once again help RISD families in need,” Shafer said. “Providing these weekend boxes allows us to serve families — who cannot otherwise get to Network — with the most basic needs. Our partnership with RISD allows us to continue serving families. It’s nice to be able to take away that worry because there are enough other things to worry about. We don’t want people to worry about not having enough food for their family.”

Shafer said Network hopes to at least double the number of weekend boxes available this week. That hinges on getting volunteers to Network to sort the food and fill the boxes.

Café Momentum Founder and CEO Chad Houser said RISD’s response to the pandemic has been a model for other school districts.

“This creative and ingenious new infrastructure you’ve created to get this food distributed is a testament to the culture you’ve built within your school district,” Houser said. “I think that can be summed up in one action and that is that we received a $1,000 donation to this cause from an RISD teacher. That doesn’t happen unless you’ve already established a culture that is not only inspiring, but calming, as well.”

Café Momentum plans to continue to provide about 1,200 weekend boxes for RISD families for at least the next six weeks.

To help with the weekend boxes, the Lake Highlands Junior Women’s League donated $50,000 that it had raised via the annual Run The Highlands event, which has been cancelled.

“The league quickly pivoted its fundraising efforts and teamed up with Imagine Dallas Inc. and Café Momentum to provide meal kits to Lake Highlands students and their families during these trying times,” a LHJWL spokeswoman said. “Each kit will consist of 16 well-balanced meals and will be distributed through RISD’s regularly scheduled Friday afternoon meal delivery service. These meal kits are intended to supplement RISD’s current weekday efforts and to help feed our neighbors through the weekend.”

The donation will help provide meals for more than 30,000 RISD community members over the coming weeks.

The RISD facilities team gathers the boxes from Network and Café Momentum’s downtown location and brings them to the district’s operations center on Greenville Avenue where about a dozen RISD coaches load their personal vehicles and deliver the boxes to the designated sites.

During the week of March 23, the dedicated RISD food and nutrition staff provided more than 62,000 meals.

They will do so again this week. The meals are available to all children. It doesn’t matter if the child is an RISD student or not. The meals are not exclusive to children on free or reduced lunch plans. All children are able to receive these meals. All means all in RISD.

Huge thanks to our partners for helping feed RISD families during this unprecedented crisis.

Partners Provide Food To Help RISD Families Get Through the Weekend was originally published in Richardson ISD Newsdesk on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.