State Announces Free Meals To Help Students During Summer

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Tuesday July 08, 2008 - 11:42:00 AM

Berkeley Unified School District families in need will qualify for a free summer meal program, according to an announcement by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell today (Monday). 

At least 13 Berkeley public school sites and organizations are among the 3,200 locations statewide which will offer free meals to economically disadvantaged students during the summer, including Berkeley Technology Academy, Willard Middle School, Malcolm X Elementary School, the Black Repertory Theater and the Frances Albrier Center. The meal program began this week and will continue until the school year begins. 

“I am deeply saddened to see so many families suffering through these tough economic times,” O’Connell said in a statement Monday. “The home foreclosure crisis and skyrocketing costs for food and gasoline are increasing the number of families who need assistance making ends meet. I am pleased that we can help these families stretch their food dollars with two of our summer feeding programs that provide nutritious meals for economically disadvantaged kids and some adults.” 

Children 18 years and younger in low-income areas and people over 18 who participate in a public or nonprofit private school program for the mentally or physically disabled are eligible to receive free meals through the federally funded Summer Food Service and the Seamless Summer Feeding Option programs, which operate when school is not in session for 15 days or more. 

Economically disadvantaged children are eligible to receive at least one nutritious meal a day during a normal school year.  

The California Department of Education has launched a new web page with a map of California to guide parents to summer meal sites, which include public and private schools, Indian tribal governments, units of local, municipal, or county governments, and other public or private nonprofit agencies. 

The sites must serve meals which contain milk, fruits, vegetables or juice, grain products and meat or meat alternates.  

Parents can find more information about summer meal sites. Contact names and telephone numbers at www.cde.ca.gov/ds/sh/sn/summersites08.asp.  

Also, schools can download free parental notifications in several languages about the summer meal sites and the new interactive map from www.cde.ca.gov/ls/pf/cm/.