For many students, the arrival of summer is a cause for celebration. But, countless other children see the break from school as a loss of the daily nutritious meals provided by campus cafeterias, leading to food insecurity and hunger over the summer months. School districts in the area are addressing this problem by offering lunches to students over the summer, free of charge.
The Turlock Unified School District Child Nutrition Department is offering free meals to kids and teens under the age of 18 at six locations this summer: Columbia Park (595 High St.), Osborn Two-Way Immersion Academy (201 N. Soderquist Road), Turlock High School (1600 E. Canal Drive), Crowell Elementary School (118 North Ave.), Sunnyview Park (500 S. Berkeley Ave.) and Wakefield Elementary School (400 South Ave.).
“This program helps them get the same quality meal they get at school throughout the summer,” said Child Nutrition Director Scott Soiseth.
Lunch will be served at Columbia Park and Sunnyview Park from June 2 through July 14, 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. THS will dish up both breakfast and lunch on those days as well, with breakfast being served from 7:15 a.m. to 8:15 a.m. and lunch provided from 11 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. Osborn Two-Way Immersion Academy will provide breakfast and lunch as well from June 2 through July 1. Breakfast will be served from 7:15 a.m. until 8:15 a.m. and lunch will take place from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Crowell Elementary will also offer breakfast and lunch during those same days and times. Lunch can be found at Wakefield Elementary June 2 through July 1 as well, from 11:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m.
According to Soiseth, the summer meal program expects to hand out around 1,300 lunches and 600 breakfasts daily.
“Our first day of the program was yesterday, and when we pulled up there were people already standing there waiting,” said Soiseth. “A lot of these areas really depend on this.”
The Denair Unified School District is providing free summer meals to students as well. All children 18 years of age or younger can stop by the Denair Middle School Café, located at 3701 Lester Road in Denair, for free breakfast and lunch. Breakfast will be served from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. and lunch will be held from 12 p.m. until 1 p.m. The service will be available June 6 through July 1 and July 11-22.
Along with TUSD and DUSD, the Hilmar Unified School District will also serve free meals to children under the age of 18 over the summer. Both breakfast and lunch will be provided at Hilmar High School (7807 N. Lander Road) and Hagaman Park (19914 River Road) from June 13-30 and July 5-22. At HHS, breakfast will be served from 7:30 a.m. to 8:15 a.m. and lunch is provided from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Lunch will be served at Hagaman Park from 12:45 p.m. to 1:15 p.m.