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Free meals available to students through summer

POSTED June 27, 2009 3:14 p.m.
Low-income students in the Turlock Unified School District can continue to receive free lunch even when school is out for summer break. TUSD offers the Summer Food Service Program to any child under the age of 18 during the months of June and July at select school locations.
“Many of our children who rely on school breakfast and lunch during the school year do not have the energy they need during the summer. That’s where we come in, by providing nutritious meals and activities to keep kids nourished and engaged,” said Scott Soiseth, director of food services and child nutrition for TUSD.
The program is sponsored by the United States Department of Agriculture, which reimburses school sites for the food that they distribute. According to the USDA’s Web site, schools in areas where at least half of the children are eligible for regular free or reduced price lunch programs can host a Summer Food Service Program.
Although over 8,000 children in Turlock receive free or reduced-price meals during the school year, there is no income requirement for receiving free meals at the Summer Food Service Program. Any child under the age of 18 is eligible for free breakfast and lunch through the program.
In addition to free meals, programs at schools in Turlock Unified School District will also be providing a variety of recreational and educational activities.
“Our responsibility to kids doesn’t end when school lets out. Kids who get enough to eat and have safe activities to participate in during the summer are less likely to get into trouble. Our summer meals program is a building block in the community for healthy, happy kids who are ready to learn,” Soiseth said.
TUSD has been sponsoring a free summer lunch program in some form for about 20 years now. This year’s program will provide breakfast and lunch at Brown, Crowell, Cunningham, Osborn, and Wakefield elementary schools, and also at Turlock High School. Children can go to any site to receive a free meal, they do not have to attend the school where they choose to eat.
Meals are served Monday through Friday at all participating locations. Breakfast starts at 7:30 a.m. and ends at 8:30 a.m. Lunch is served from 11:30 am through 1 p.m.
To contact Andrea Goodwin, e-mail agoodwin@turlockjournal.com or call 634-9141 ext. 2003
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