By Samantha Young, Kaiser Health News, April 28, 2020
During the first week of school closures in San Jose, state Sen. Jim Beall’s office received more than a dozen phone calls from distressed parents and caregivers.
The problem: They couldn’t get free lunches because school district rules required children be present to receive a meal. A grandmother caring for at least seven children couldn’t fit them all in her car. One parent had a sick child who needed to stay at home, and another was unable to bring her child, who has disabilities, to wait in the drive-thru lunch line.
Beall’s staff helped resolve their predicaments by calling the school districts and the schools to mediate. And while lunch line challenges alone might seem minor, Californians are contending with unexpected unemployment, social isolation and anxiety about the virus. All of those added stressors could lead to — or exacerbate — mental health problems as Californians cope with COVID-19, said the Democrat from San Jose.