SAN ANTONIO - The Northside Independent School District is offering free breakfast and lunch for students across San Antonio this week.

NISD plans to open the doors at Jim G. Martin Elementary School and Mary Hull Elementary School March 13-17. Staff will be serving hot breakfast from 8-9 a.m. and lunch from 11 a.m. to noon.

Tanja Cardenas, Martin Elementary School food service manager, said parents are encouraged to join and eat a meal.

The two schools give free or reduced lunches to a majority of the students.

"This area has a lot of low-income [families], and a lot of kids don't eat. That's why we're starting in this area so kids from the low-income areas can have food. This is the first time we're trying it out," said Cardenas. "You need food to concentrate. You need food to be healthy, to do sports and to get your mind and body ready to learn. That's what we want to do."

Beatriz Velasco, a mother of four, often babysits her family's kids in addition to her four daughters. She said the program is a huge help during spring break.

"It is a lot of help for us to bring your kids to a program like this where they can eat," said Velasco. "I like the fruit and the milk. They're getting their calcium. They're getting their Vitamin C through the fruit, and they get whole grains."

On the first day of NISD's free meal program, the cafeteria was mostly empty. Velasco said she hopes parents put aside their hesitations and come take advantage of the program.

"What I believe is that a lot of people are embarrassed coming here. I know I was a little shy coming here. Like, they should feel free to come in here to have lunch and breakfast," said Velasco.

Another NISD teacher who works at Warren High School launched a fundraiser to make sure students who don't have access to meals can eat during vacation. For more information, click here.