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Meal programs ensure student food security over summer
Columbia Park is one site where the Turlock Unified School District’s Child Nutrition Department will be providing free meals to students Wednesday through July 18. - photo by Journal file photo

While summer vacation is simply a break from academics for most children, for others the end of school means the end of the daily meals provided by campus cafeterias. Local school districts are helping fight the problem of food insecurity and hunger over the summer months, offering breakfast, lunch and dinner to students, free of charge.

The Turlock Unified School District’s Child Nutrition Department is offering free meals to kids and teens under the age of 18 at five locations beginning Wednesday.

Through July 3, breakfast and lunch will be available at Cunningham Elementary School (324 W. Linwood Ave.) and Julien Elementary School (1924 E. Canal Dr.). Breakfast will be served from 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. and lunch will be served from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Through July 18, breakfast will be served at Turlock High School (1600 E. Canal Dr.) from 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m., and lunch will be served from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Also through July 18, lunch only will be served at Columbia Park (595 High St.) and Sunnyview Park (500 S. Berkeley Ave.) from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

“We gear this toward students who, for the most part, are dependent upon these meals for daily nutrition,” said TUSD Nutrition Director Scott Soiseth. “It’s a huge benefit to both students and the community.”

According to Soiseth, the summer meal program in Turlock typically hands out around 1,200 lunches and 600 breakfasts daily.

“We’ve been doing this for over 20 years, and it’s just a great service,” said Soiseth. “It’s taken for granted sometimes, but not by the kids that really look forward to it during the summer and come back every year.”

For more information, contact the TUSD Child Nutrition Department at 209-667-9048.

The Denair Unified School District is providing free summer meals to children 18 and under as well.

Breakfast and lunch is served now through June 29, then again from July 9 through July 27 at the Denair Elementary Charter Academy cafeteria (3773 Madera Ave.). Breakfast is available from 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. and lunch is served from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Supper is also served during those same dates from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Denair High School cafeteria (3431 Lester Road).

For more information about Denair’s summer meals, call 209-632-7514 ext. 1246.

Delhi children 18 and under can also receive free breakfast and lunch starting June 18 until July 20.

From 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m., breakfast will be served in the Delhi High School cafeteria (16881 West Schendel Ave.), and from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., lunch will be served at the same location.

The program is called the Seamless Summer Feeding Program, said Director of Food Services Joseph Tenorio. On an average day, anywhere between 36 to 178 meals are given out for free.

“We run this program every year, and this location is because due to the heat, we wanted to make sure we had an air-conditioned location for our district community,” Tenorio said.

For more information about Delhi summer meals, contact Tenorio at 209-656-2000 ext. 5108.