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Summer Lunch Celebrations

Summer Lunch Celebrations

During the summer months, school is out, but the need for lunch is not. The Summer Lunch Celebrations, held by the Food Bank throughout the month of July, embodied this idea. The Food Bank partnered with UC Cooperative Extension, Contra Costa Health Services, and Vallejo and Mt. Diablo Unified School Districts to hold two events hosted by Wren Avenue Elementary in Concord and Norman King Community Center in Vallejo. Children of all ages were invited to participate in various activities, games, and giveaways related to healthy eating and physical activity. Over 200 children played a relay game, learned about healthy food and drink choices, and enjoyed a snack of peaches and plums in addition to their free lunch. For the parents, there was information about food stamps and other food assistance programs provided by the Food Bank.

Many children rely on free or reduced-price school lunches as their main or only source of nutritious, balanced food. During the summer months, some kids go without a healthy meal for this reason. To rectify this, the USDA created the Summer Food Service Program that provides free lunches to any child under the age of 18. Free lunches are offered at various community centers, schools, and parks in low-income neighborhoods. With the budget crisis and many schools closing, there are fewer locations that offer free meals. Thankfully, despite these setbacks, free lunches were served at over 100 sites throughout Contra Costa and Solano counties.
You can help improve access to nutrition programs for kids — like the Summer Food Service Program. This Fall, Congress will be making decisions about the Summer Food Service Program, School Meals, Child and Adult Care Food Program, and more in the Child Nutrition Reauthorization. What can you do? Write your members of Congress and ask them to expand and improve current federal child nutrition programs. Visit www.foodbankccs.org for more information.

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