Live Updates: Chicago Protests and Unrest

Chicago school officials stand behind suspending meal distribution

Cesar’s Meal Distribution
Cesar’s Killer Margaritas employee Israel Sanchez distributes free lunch to Chicago Public Schools parent. CPS suspended its free meal distribution at all schools today “based on the evolving nature of activity across the city.” WBEZ

Chicago Public Schools officials are defending their decision to suspend meal distribution Monday, saying they are concerned about student and worker safety.

“I live in these communities — the communities that have been shown on TV over the past few days — so I have a good gut sense about the safety,” CPS CEO Janice Jackson said during a news conference. “I would not be able to live with myself if something happened to a student or a family member when they went to get food.”

This was the first day the school district has not handed out food at schools since in-person classes were suspended on March 17 due to the pandemic. Tens of thousands of meals go out each day, with 12.5 million meals distributed so far.

Jackson said she intends to resume meal distribution on Tuesday. If families need emergency food Monday, she said they can call the school district at 773-553-KIDS and set up delivery. Also, many community organizations, restaurants and aldermen stepped in to give out free meals on Monday.