During the COVID-19 crisis, many businesses are stepping up to help their neighbors.
The local Sysco distribution center is one of those businesses. Sysco has been donating food to the Loomis Union School District for its food services program since campuses were closed.
The donations developed from a conversation between Tim Coxen, Golden Eagle Pony Baseball president and Niki Anast, a Sysco employee, both Loomis residents.
The baseball program regularly works with Sysco obtaining food for its snack bars. When the league decided to postpone the start to its season, Coxen and Anast started discussing how to help children in the area during this time. Since Sysco is in the food business, asking it to help provide meals seemed like a natural fit.
“For the past two-and-a-half weeks to three weeks, Sysco has donated a big chunk of the food needed for the lunch and breakfast program,” Coxen said.
“I actually live in Loomis,” Anast said, “and I took it upon myself to ask Sysco to donate.”
Anast talked to Lynn Moore, the school district’s food services supervisor. Moore has been picking up food from Sysco ever since.
The company has donated breakfast items, produce, gallons of orange juice and lemonade, yogurt and more, Moore said. Last week, Sysco donated three cases of frozen pizzas. Through the donations, the district has been able to provide lunch and breakfast for between 300 and 350 students, five days a week. Despite it technically being spring break, Moore and the other 12 district employees in food services have continued providing meals through Loomis Elementary School.
The team provides meals for pick up at the various school sites while wearing gloves and face masks, made by Denise Steinhauer, a food services worker at Penryn Elementary. For those parents or guardians who are unable to pick up food, Moore delivers it to their homes.
Loomis Union provides a van for Moore during regular times. It might be seeing more use right now. In one trip, she drops off lunch for students and their next morning’s breakfast. In the instance of the pizzas, she was able to provide a meal for some students’ families.
“I am absolutely dedicated,” she said. “It’s one less worry for those families. It makes all the difference. I don’t stop [each day] until it’s done.”
While the cost estimate saved by the district through Sysco’s food donations was not readily available at this time, it is significant, Moore added.