While Burbank schools remain closed and teachers and students are working to conduct classes online, the Burbank Unified School District Food and Nutrition Services staff has been on campus providing meals to those in need.
Shari Burkhart has worked for the Burbank Unified School District for 20 years and provides leadership to the group as Food Service Field Supervisor. Born and raised in Burbank, Burkhart’s grandmother moved to town in 1924 and her parents were among the first graduating class of Jordan Middle School.
Burkhart has remained devoted to serving the Burbank education system that has played a significant role in the lives of her and her family members.
“Having grown up in Burbank my whole life, my best interests are based within the Burbank’s community of children, making sure they have food readily available to them and making sure they are taken well care of,” Burkhart said.
Every Wednesday, the 16-member team of the BUSD Food Service produced 10,000 meals for the community, with the last day of distribution being May 20. Meals were given away outside of Luther Middle School, Jordan Middle School, and Burbank High School. Although originally intended primarily for BUSD personnel, every person in need who showed up was given provisions.
“The food was supposed to be for the students of BUSD,” Burkhart said. “But we would have a few other community members show up. None were turned away. We had a veteran who lived in a group home with other veterans, he was given food for him and the other ten veterans living with him.”
The team made enough breakfasts and lunches to last five days out of the week for community members who would line up outside in their cars and receive meal kits by trunk. The food consisted of hot dogs, ham and cheese sandwiches, cheeseburgers, French toast, egg muffins, fresh fruit, and veggies, as well as milk and juice for beverages.
Burkhart says feeding the community is a rewarding experience that brings hope amidst this arduous period.
“It’s amazing to see everyone come together as a team and work so hard to help our community during these tough times,” Burkhart said. “Getting to see all the kids and how happy it makes everyone feel that they have food available to them makes it all worth it.”
Although the BUSD Food Service team is no longer distributing meals at this time, there is information regarding receiving food benefits during the COVID-19 pandemic on their website, which you can visit here: