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Morning Briefing: Making Millions Of Meals For LAUSD Kids

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Since the coronavirus forced schools to close in mid-March, LAUSD has served over 13 million free meals to students and adults. It’s a service that the district has been providing steadily and without much ado – under normal circumstances, many of the students picking up those meals would have been getting them during their school day.

But these aren’t normal circumstances. Carla Javier and Chava Sanchez followed a meal to find out what goes into getting it to one of the district’s 63 grab and go spots. Tommy Medina, a truck driver for the district, who frequently begins his day at 4:00 a.m., summed it up thusly: “It is hard work. It is back-breaking work.”

It’s not clear how much longer the grab and go locations will need to stay in existence. Gov. Gavin Newsom said Tuesday that California schools could re-open as soon as July, but didn’t specify which counties would be included.

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Either way, L.A. is lucky to have staff members at our school system who are committed to ensuring the health of our city’s kids – no matter what.

"It is a privilege and honor to be a part of it,” said Medina, “to be able to help get food to the people who need it.”

Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you tomorrow morning.

Jessica P. Ogilvie

Coming Up Today, April 29

California’s leaders have encouraged child care providers to stay open, and offered resources to do so. Mariana Dale looks at whether these initiatives are making a difference, and how essentia workers are taking care of their kids, in the meantime.

Following our feature on the logistics behind the LAUSD food distribution machine, Carla Javier talks to some of the 2,900 people providing hundreds of thousands of meals for students every weekday.

One of L.A. County's largest domestic violence intervention programs has seen an expanding caseload. Robert Garrova reports that the program is also offering food assistance and resources for rent and utility support, with the hope of reducing economic stress.

What’s it like to open a restaurant in the middle of a pandemic? Hummus Labs in Pasadena opened its doors during the dine-in restaurant ban. Owner Joseph Badaro tells Fiona Ng that at this point, the only way for things to go is up.

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The Past 24 Hours In LA

L.A., California, The World: There are now at least 20,976 coronavirus cases and 1000 deaths in L.A. County. There are over 46,000 cases and 1,800 deaths in California. Worldwide, there are over 3.1 million cases and nearly 217,000 deaths.

California Kids: We look at each step of the planning, packaging and distribution process that makes LAUSD’s free meal system happen. Newsom may ask California’s K-12 schools to begin the 2020-21 school year as soon as late July. Cal State and UC students filed federal class-action lawsuits demanding refunds for unused portions of fees for campus-related services.

The Road To Recovery: Local governments are using lighter traffic as an opportunity to speed up planned road repairs. State officials laid out the plan to move to the next phase of loosening stay-at-home restrictions. California's Economic Development Department is now allowing gig workers and other self-employed people to apply for unemployment insurance, although the system is not working as smoothly as many hoped it would so far.

Protecting The Vulnerable: The rapid spread of the coronavirus through nursing home staff has led the California National Guard to plug those staffing holes. L.A. County representatives will work with state officials to mandate extra pay and sick leave for nursing home workers and ban retaliation against staff who request PPE. L.A. County will add construction workers to the list of critical workers now eligible for coronavirus testing.

The 2020 Vote: County officials voted to require mail-in ballots to be sent to all registered voters in the county for the November election.

Today, In Science: If it's called a red tide, then why does it create glowing blue waves? We explain the bioluminescence that's going on right now in SoCal’s ocean.

The Arts: In a fundamental rewriting of its eligibility rules, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences said films don’t have to be released theatrically to qualify for next year’s Oscars. In what looks like a big win for talent agencies, a district court judge has thrown out several key claims the WGA made against CAA, WME and UTA. The creator of the hit show "One Day At A Time" says making the show (or any shows) in front of live audiences won't happen any time soon.

Your Moment Of Zen

KPCC/LAist's visual journalist Chava Sanchez captured this homage to health care workers outside a senior living facility in Hollywood.

A nursing home pays homage to its health care workers. (Chava Sanchez / LAist)

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