North Central News

Free summer food for kids

For many struggling families, summertime poses a critical health issue for their children. During the school year, children from low-income families receive free breakfast and lunch while at school. But during the summer, many of those children face the risk of going hungry each day.

Children in North Central Phoenix whose families are struggling financially can receive free breakfast and lunch this summer as several public locations, including libraries and school cafeterias (photo courtesy of the USDA).

Children in North Central Phoenix whose families are struggling financially can receive free breakfast and lunch this summer as several public locations, including libraries and school cafeterias (photo courtesy of the USDA).

In Arizona, only 11 percent of school children who rely on free or reduced-price school lunches during the school year currently participate in summer meal programs. These free programs are available to kids and teens age 18 and under at dozens of summer meals sites across the Valley. Sites are registered with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and are held at safe local places such as schools, churches and community centers.

Several North Central school districts, as well as two area library branches and one community center, are offering free meals for kids during the summertime. For more details, see the information below.

The Acacia Branch Library, 750 E. Townley Ave., offers free meals for kids this summer through a partnership with the USDA, administered by the Arizona Department of Education. The meals are provided by St. Mary’s Food Bank and contain a sandwich or wrap, fruit, milk and more. The free meals for kids are available Tuesday-Saturday beginning at 1 p.m. There are only 25 meals available per day and they are distributed on a first-come, first served basis. In addition, Desert Mission Food Bank provides Snack Pacs at the library, beginning at noon on Fridays, which have enough non-perishable, kid-friendly food items in them to last a child for a weekend. About 75 are available each Friday, also on a first-come, first served basis.

Solano Elementary, part of the Osborn Elementary School District, will offer meals for children ages 18 and younger without charge during the week, from June 5 to July 3. The school is located at 1526 W. Missouri Ave. Breakfast will be served in the cafeteria from 7 to 8 a.m. and lunch will be served from 10 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. You do not need to be enrolled in the school district to participate in the program.

The Yucca Branch Library, 5648 N. 15th Ave., near the Spectrum Chris-Town Mall, also offers free meals for kids this summer. The meals are provided by St. Mary’s Food Bank and contain a sandwich or wrap, fruit, milk and more. The free meals for kids are available Tuesday-Saturday beginning at 3 p.m. There are only 20 meals available per day and they are distributed on a first-come, first served basis.

The Washington Activity Center, 2240 W. Citrus Way, provides a free lunch for children ages 1 to 18 from 11 to 11:30 a.m., as well as an afternoon snack from 3 to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, from June 2 to July 25. The center will be closed for the Fourth of July holiday.

The Phoenix Union High School District, along with other agencies, will provide breakfast and lunch for needy children 18 years of age and younger at 13 high schools, Monday through Thursday, through June 26. Participating schools include: Camelback, 4612 N. 28th St.; Central, 4525 N. Central Ave.; Metro Tech, 1900 W. Thomas Road; and North, 1101 E. Thomas Road. Food will be prepared, as it is during the regular school year, at each location in the school cafeteria. Breakfast will be served from 7:15 to 8 a.m., with lunch being served from 10:45 a.m. until 12:15 p.m. Adults are welcome to accompany children and can purchase breakfast for $2 and lunch for $3.

The Washington Elementary School District also provides a summer meal program for children ages 1 to 18 at all of its campuses, dates and times vary. In the North Central community, those campuses, dates and times include:
Desert View Elementary, 8621 N. 3rd St., Monday-Thursday, June 2-26. Breakfast is served 7:30-8 a.m. and lunch is available 11-11:30 a.m.
Maryland Elementary, 6503 N. 21st Ave., Monday-Thursday June 2-26. Breakfast is served 8:15-8:45 a.m. and lunch is available 11:45 a.m.-12:15 p.m.
Mountain View School, 801 W. Peoria Ave., Monday-Thursday June 2-26. Breakfast is served 7:30-8 a.m. and lunch is available 11-11:30 a.m.
Orangewood School, 7337 N. 19th Ave., Monday-Friday, through Aug. 1 (closed July 4). Breakfast is served 7:30-8:15 a.m. and lunch is available 11-11:45 a.m.
R.E. Miller School, 2021 W. Alice Ave., Monday-Thursday, June 2-26. Breakfast is served 8:15-8:45 a.m. and lunch is available 11:45 a.m.-12:15 p.m.
Royal Palm Middle School, 8520 N. 19th Ave., Monday-Thursday, June 2-July 17 (closed July 4). Breakfast is served 8:15-8:45 a.m. and lunch is available 11:45 a.m.-12:15 p.m.
Sunnyslope Elementary, 245 E. Mountain View Road, Monday-Thursday, June 2-26. Breakfast is served 8:15-8:45 a.m. and lunch is available 11:45 a.m.-12:15 p.m.
Washington Elementary, 8033 N. 27th Ave., Monday-Friday, through Aug. 1 (closed July 4). Breakfast is served 8-8:45 a.m. and lunch is available 11:30 a.m.-12:15 p.m.

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