L.A. Unified this week announced that free meals will be offered this summer at more than 300 school sites to ensure that children have access to nutritious food after the end of the academic year.
Nearly 430,000 L.A. Unified students qualify to receive free or reduced-price meals during the school year, but many lack adequate food after school ends. The Summer Food Service Program ensures that children can continue to benefit from nutritious meals until school resumes in the fall.
“We have found that, for a number of students, the meals they get at school are the only meals they eat for the day. As such, they often go hungry during vacations,” said Dr. Thelma Meléndez de Santa Ana, CEO of the Office of Educational Services. “This summer, youngsters will get nutritious meals at no charge at 429 locations throughout the city. Our students will not have to experience hunger and food insecurity while on vacation, and they will be nourished and ready to learn when they go back to school.”
In collaboration with the Beyond the Bell Branch, the District’s afterschool program, the Food Services Division will offer free meals at 321 school sites to those ages 1 to 18. The District also is partnering with the Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks to provide meals at 103 city sites. Additionally, the District is partnering with the YMCA of Metropolitan Los Angeles to provide meals at select locations through its “Get Summer” initiative.
“Hunger does not go away simply because school is out for the summer,” said Food Services Director Joseph Vaughn. “We want to make certain that our students have access to hot, nutritious meals and that no child is forced to go hungry. Food Services looks forward to working with our community partners and the Beyond the Bell staff as we work collaboratively to provide this much-needed program.”
Most of the schools will offer free meals from June 19 through July 28, although the program may be extended at select sites. (See the attached list for details.)
The program is operated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and administered by the California Department of Education.