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Summer food program: District school programs to feed kids breakfast, lunch for free

Children take part in the free summer food program this past year at Humboldt Elementary School, Humboldt Unified School District. (HUSD/Courtesy)

Children take part in the free summer food program this past year at Humboldt Elementary School, Humboldt Unified School District. (HUSD/Courtesy)

Summer vacation brings more play time for children, and they can stay energized thanks to access to free, nutritious breakfasts and lunches at certain local school sites.

All three school districts will provide free meals for students at time frames and various locations during the week May through June or July. The Hungry Kids program that furnishes children with food to last over the weekend does not extend into the summer, although some districts offer something similar.

The grant-funded summer meal programs are not based on income or need; all children are welcome at all participating district locations.

“There are so many children that depend on school food while in school. When not in school, they struggle to find meals,” said Jody Buckle, director of Food and Nutrition for the Humboldt Unified School District. “This allows us the opportunity to continue feeding in summertime. It’s for any child that wants to come eat; it doesn’t matter what your financial needs are.”

PRESCOTT DISTRICT

Students do not need to apply for the Summer Food Program in the Prescott Unified School District. Open to ages 18 and younger at no cost, lunch is also offered to adults for $2.

Breakfast and lunch meals take place at one school, Abia Judd Elementary, 7-8 a.m. and 10:45 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Monday through Thursday, June 3-20.

This will not take students through the entire summer, said Amy Seigler, PUSD director of Food Services. The YMCA, however, offers a summer meal program that overlaps and extends to July 12.

“Otherwise, there is no other place until school starts,” Seigler said.

The YMCA serves breakfast 7:30-8:30 a.m., lunch (cold) 12-1 p.m. Monday through Friday, June 3-July 12.

The Boys & Girls Club also provides meals during its summer program, she added. Children need to be signed up with Boys & Girls Club.

HUMBOLDT DISTRICT

Four schools in the Humboldt Unified School District will offer breakfast and/or lunch for children younger than 19, Buckle said. In addition, each location will have special visitors throughout the summer.

Two school locations serve meals Monday through Thursday, and families in need (at all locations) are provided with food bags to cover weekend meals for children.

“We will use some of the food items from our Hungry Kids Food Drive that will expire before the beginning of the school year,” said Pam Liuzzo, HUSD nutritionist.

The district works in partnership with St. Mary’s Food Bank, which also offers food bags to last over the weekend at all four sites, she said.

Coyote Springs and Humboldt Elementary schools provide lunch only from 10:30 a.m.-12 p.m. Monday through Thursday, June 3-July 18. “We would love to serve breakfast as well, but participation was so low last year it wasn’t worth it,” Liuzzo said, adding that the district would consider breakfast for next year if the need arises.

Lake Valley and Mountain View Elementary schools offer breakfast 8-9 a.m. and lunch 11 a.m.-12 p.m. Monday through Friday, May 28-July 19.

Buckle said kids playing at nearby Mountain Valley Park can stop in at Mountain View Elementary School and grab lunch. “We want to make sure kids get nutritious meals even in summertime.”

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Humboldt Unified School District meal planning for June and July. Area school districts plan to offer free breakfast and lunch to kids this summer. (HUSD/Courtesy)

Adults pay $2 for breakfast, $3.75 lunch.

Each school site will host visitors from Matforce, Heritage Zoo and Sprouts Family Market.

In addition, Yavapai County Health Services will visit Humboldt Elementary 10:30a.m.-12 p.m. June 18; Mountain View on June 20; and Coyote Springs July 9.

CHINO VALLEY DISTRICT

Free breakfast and lunch meals are served this summer at Territorial Early Childhood Center, 1088 Mahan Lane, in the Chino Valley Unified School District. Its program provides meals for the longest duration of all districts – through July 26.

Beginning June 3, children 18 years and younger can receive breakfast 8-9:30 a.m. and lunch 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, June 3-July 26. The site will be closed July 4-5 in observance of Independence Day.

“A lot of kids eat breakfast, go next door to swim, and come back for lunch,” said Cindy Daniels, assistant superintendent.

Adult prices are $2.75 for breakfast, $3.75 for lunch. All food must be consumed on site.

This past summer, the district served 15,000 meals, Daniels said. During the summer, the weekend Hungry Kids and the emergency food pantry are not available. Instead, the district engages in two food collections, June and August.

Beginning in June, on rotating days once a week, the district offers free groceries to families. All food items come from community donations and the Chino Valley Food Neighbors Project, Daniels said. About 13,000 pound of food have been collected this year, she added.

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