HOUSTON - The Harris County Department of Education approved $500,000 in scholarships, sponsorships and grants Wednesday to help students and families impacted by the COVID-19 economic shutdown.
That’s in addition to the $275,000 they approved last month for meals for their Head Start Students who are now being homeschooled due to coronavirus-related closures.
There are 1,350 children in the Harris County Department of Education’s Head Start program, and all those kids are now being homeschooled, an HCDE spokeswoman told Fox 26.
To alleviate the burden on families HCDE has spent the past three weeks distributing boxes of meals to families of Head Start students. The boxes were given out at all 15 of the county’s Head Start centers, and each box contained enough food to feed a family of four 10 meals, the HCDE spokeswoman said.
“They’ve been feeding my children Monday through Friday breakfast and lunch, which has helped us so much,” said Jenifer Riker, a Head Start mom in La Porte.
Riker is one of the Head Start parents who is now adjusting to homeschooling her four children--grades Head Start through 5th. She says the meals are crucial, as her income has shut down.
“Coronavirus has greatly impacted my family,” said Riker. “I own a small lawn care business, and we’ve had a hard time keeping up. I also work, and I’m unable to work due to schools being closed. And I’m unable to get unemployment because the website won’t allow me to apply, and Tele-Serv is constantly busy and impossible to get through.”
The HCDE says they’re waiting on their next wave of groceries to arrive so they can begin their next wave of meals for families like Riker’s. They say they have dealt with some backlog in shipment due to high grocery demand nationwide.
HCDE officials say the next wave of meals will begin in the next two week. It will happen at all 15 of the Head Start centers countywide for all the families with kids who are enrolled in Head Start. Each family will be notified when the meals are available for drive through pickup.