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In an age of unprecedented challenges, McAllen ISD has pushed through to the top of the rankings in a statewide list. 

The district is No. 1 in the Kroger School Food Rankings for Texas, according to the non-profit organization, Children at Risk.

This award recognizes McAllen ISD’s efforts to offer curbsides, home deliveries and multiple in-school delivery options that resulted in high meal participation in breakfast, lunch and dinner programs in spite of the ongoing pandemic.

“We are very proud of this award recognizing our efforts to facilitate access to food as we transitioned back to face-to-face instruction in the 2020-21 school year,” McAllen ISD Child Nutrition Director Alexandra Molina said. “McAllen ISD stayed nearly 100 percent remote (learning) until November of 2020 and then closed after winter break until the middle of February. Our department stayed high on meal participation in spite of these closures by using curbside and community center meal pick-up locations and McAllen McDash home delivery for families who were remote learning.”

McAllen ISD’s Child Nutrition staff understood that as the pandemic lingered, families faced more food insecurity at home and committed to making sure to continue to provide seamless school meal services for students that were learning synchronously remotely and providing alternate feeding models for students on campus to assist with social distancing measures.  

Currently, the district is averaging nearly 37,500 meals per day (breakfast, lunch, and dinner). That comes to more than 6.6 million meals per school year.

With nearly 74 percent of students being economically disadvantaged, McAllen ISD serves free meals to all students regardless of income level. This began in 1998. McAllen ISD also serves free meals to children ages 1-18 during its Summer Feeding Program each year.   

The Kroger School Food Rankings evaluate how school districts across Texas provide meals to low-income area school children by focusing on meal participation rates and after-school meal programs offered in each district. This year School Nutrition Departments went the extra mile to address food insecurity needs in their community at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and found ways to make those efforts sustainable as it continues.

Children At Risk recognizes the great value these districts are providing to students, their families, and the state’s academic and economic future. In partnership with Kroger, Children At Risk announced this year’s top-performing school districts. 

Children At Risk is a non-partisan research and advocacy nonprofit dedicated to understanding and addressing the root causes of child poverty and inequality. Established in 1989 by Houston child advocates and researchers, Children At Risk has grown into a statewide organization tackling Texas children and families’ most pressing needs.

Its mission is to serve as a catalyst for change to improve children’s quality of life through strategic research, public policy analysis, education, collaboration and advocacy.