Ahhhh. Summer. The days are longer, the temps warmer, and the promise of more laid back, carefree days lingers in the air. This past Friday, students and parents (well, maybe not all parents…I’m so there with you, Lynnette!) throughout Washoe County breathed a sigh of relief as the final school bell of the year sounded and summer break officially began. Plans have been laid for days spent swimming, Summer Camp, and weeknight sleepovers – all the stuff that makes summer break fun.
But summer isn’t fun for children who are hungry. Did you know that, in Washoe County, 47% of students qualify for free meals throughout the school year? That’s approximately 28,000 children – nearly enough to fill Mackay Stadium. Children who depend on free lunch and breakfast at school can be at risk of hunger during the summer break when school meals are not available. Many don’t know where to turn for a good meal in the summer.
The Food Bank of Northern Nevada joins forces with several community partners to provide free, nutritious meals for children and teens ages 1-18 years through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Summer Food Service Program. Additional sites throughout the Truckee Meadows are sponsored by City of Reno Parks, Recreation, and Community Services, and Boys & Girls Club of Truckee Meadows. Together, these organizations offer nearly 50 locations all over Reno, Sparks, Lemmon Valley, Sun Valley, and Stead where children and youth can get a free lunch all summer long. Several sites serve breakfast as well. Some locations will also host the Food Bank’s Stay & Play program, designed to encourage the kids to spend some time playing while at the park after enjoying their lunch, with some nutrition education built into the fun activities.
Meals are served at neighborhood parks, community centers, some school yards, and even apartment complexes. All sites are open to all youth, 18 years of age and younger. There is no requirement of participating in any scheduled events or programs that may be taking place at the site, but all meals are required to be eaten on site.
Join the Food Bank at Miguel Ribera Park on Wednesday, June 18 for a community kick-off event for the 2014 Summer Meals program. Bring the kids out for a free lunch and some fun activities and say hi to some special guests while you’re there. The kick-off will run from noon-2:00 p.m., with lunch being served to kids from 12:30-1:30 p.m.
This summer, meals are served weekdays from June 16 through August 8 (dates and times vary by site.) Download the Summer Meals schedule or contact the Food Bank directly at 331-3663 with questions.
This post is sponsored by the Food Bank of Northern Nevada.