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Local Organizations Team Up to Alleviate Food Insecurity During the Summer Months

Local Organizations Team Up to Alleviate Food Insecurity During the Summer Months

Local leaders have announced a joint effort to connect the community with nutrition assistance programs to help ease the burden of rising food prices during the summer months.

“When school is out for summer break, a large number of kids lose access to the healthy meals they rely on during the school year,” said San Diego Unified’s Food and Nutrition Services Director Alicia Pitrone Hauser. “Summer meals ensure all children have consistent access to the nutrition they need to learn, play, and grow — and this makes children be better prepared to start another school year.”

This summer, schools, YMCAs, military sites, public libraries, parks and recreation centers, and other neighborhood organizations are turning into meal and nutrition hubs, offering free breakfast and lunch to children and teens in the community along with nutrition education resources, reading activities for children, and food benefits for families to purchase groceries, all helping San Diego youth stay active and thriving.

The Summer Meals Program began June 10 and runs until Aug. 2 at convenient locations across San Diego. Children do not need to be San Diego Unified students to participate, and there are no registration requirements or forms to complete.

While the traditional summer meal sites remain incredibly vital to local youth, we need more strategies that bring together resources and expertise to reach families who need summer nutrition support.

“Public libraries are neighborhood hubs, and the San Diego Public Library is proud to work with our partners to bring these much-needed food resources to the community,” said San Diego Public Library Director Misty Jones. “SDPL meal sites will hold free programs, activities, storytimes, and shows around lunchtime, nourishing children’s minds and bodies and providing vital information for their parents and caregivers.”

In addition to nourishing meals and reading programs, Feeding San Diego School Pantry Program will be offering fresh produce and pantry items at 30 sites this summer. These food distributions are hosted in partnership with school districts, recreation centers and libraries across the county.

“Summer can be the hungriest time of year for families experiencing food insecurity,” said Bob Kamensky, CEO of Feeding San Diego. “Our summer meal programs aim to get nutritious food out into the community where it’s needed most. We rely on strong partnerships with schools, libraries and rec centers — all fundamental gathering places for parents across the county — to ensure that parents have access to no-cost groceries and meals.”

Combined with the traditional summer meals, the new California SUN Bucks program is helping families buy food during the summer break. Families will receive $40 for each eligible child to buy groceries for June, July, and August ($120 total).

Eligible families will receive SUN Bucks on a card mailed to their home. Families can use SUN Bucks just like a debit card to buy fruits, vegetables, meat, whole grains, and dairy at grocery stores, farmers markets, and other places that accept CalFresh EBT benefits. SUN Bucks does not affect immigration status.

The Summer Meals Program is funded through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and run by school districts and local organizations.

For a complete list of summer meal locations and hours, visit sandiegounified.org/food. To find food distributions hosted by Feeding San Diego, visit feedingsandiego.org/find-food.


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