Chicago Public school families will have to find another way to get food after the suspension of its meal distribution program. Last night around 10:30, the district posted on its social media accounts that they are suspending its grab and go food program today. CPS has given out more than 12 million meals since the coronavirus pandemic. Many families rely on the food program as a primary food source. Officials say the decision is based on the evolving nature of activity across the city.
Alderman Carlos Ramirez-Rosa of the 35th Ward is trying to figure out the rationale behind suspending the food program. Nixon Elementary School exhausts its meals every day and is one of the hardest wards hit with COVID-19. Ramirez-Rosa, an avid critic of Mayor Lori Lightfoot, tweeted, “Who is making the decisions? Our families rely on this food.”
The lack of police protection and involvement on the southwest, south, and west sides of the city caused many stores to close, due to the widespread looting and vandalism. This includes grocery stores, which would have been an alternative option for families to get food.
271,000 students are from low-income families, and 17, 000 are homeless. Many students live in food deserts. The decision left Chicago Teachers Union Vice President Stacy Davis Gates speechless. In a late-night tweet, the CTU criticized the move. “CPS is already forcing children living in areas of extreme unrest and trauma into remote learning tomorrow. Now it’s cutting off their access to food,” the union wrote.
Kelly Washington is an educator and writer living in Chicago. Find her on social media @blackbutterfly413.