Free summer meal program kicks off for Houston area kids and teens

June 10, 2013 3:29:30 PM PDT
During the school year, thousands of children count on school breakfast and lunches to keep them going. But when school is out, many families struggle to put those meals on the table. To help those families and make sure those youngsters don't miss out on meals, free meals will be available.

School is out and the pools are parks are open in full use, but while kids have a few ways to occupy their time, there is a push to make sure they have enough to eat during summer vacation.

Monday marked the kickoff of the free summer meals program. It's through a partnership between the Houston Parks and Recreation Department along with the Texas Hunger Initiative. The program offers free summer meals to those children whose families may have a hard time providing those daytime meals. These families, who typically rely on school breakfast and lunch programs, now, have another alternative.

"They don't have enough resources to do it during the year, when kids are eating at school," explained Megan Pardy with Texas Hunger. "To add that extra cost on is really challenging and can really stretch some families. On top of that, when we talk about trying to eat healthy, that can be a barrier as well. So we want to increase access to some of these foods."

The Summer Food Service Program operates Monday through Friday at more than 470 sites in Houston and Harris County throughout the summer. No registration is required. SFSP meals are served at Houston Parks and Recreation Department Community Centers and other participating locations including: churches, apartment complexes, learning centers and other nonprofit organizations.

The nutritious packed lunches are prepared and delivered daily to each site and comply with federal and state requirements. They include one serving of milk, two or more servings of vegetables and/or fruits, one serving of grain or bread, and one serving of meat or meat alternative.

Lunch is served 11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. and a healthy snack is served 3:00 p.m. o 4:00 p.m. To find a site near you, call 211 or 713-676-6832 and give the operator your zip code.

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