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School Districts Offer Free Meals This Summer

Stephanie Sanchez

School is almost out this week but hunger doesn’t take a summer vacation.

Many kids eat free lunches during the school year but once summer break rolls around, they lose access to a free meal.

KAWC’s Stephanie Sanchez reports on efforts by Yuma-area school districts to expand their reach and alleviate the food insecurity in Yuma County.

On May 30th, Yuma Elementary School District One will kick-off their Summer Food Service at O.C. Johnson Elementary School.

Yuma District One Child Nutrition director Lisa Thrower said this year they are going to pilot a lunch and supper program.

“Kids in this day and age in the summertime just don’t want to get up out of bed," Thrower said. "And we see that our numbers for lunch are large but the numbers for breakfast aren’t. We know those kids are hungry for breakfast and lunch but they’re maybe just not waking up.”

Beginning June 1st, the Yuma Union High School District will provide a free breakfast and lunch at 25 different sites throughout Yuma County.

This year, the district’s federal programs coordinator Jessica Mickish said they’ll repeat a successful mobile food service program to help fill the need.

“So that students and parents could come, sit on air-conditioned bus, eat their lunches and read some books," Mickish said. "They can also check out those books and bring them back.”

Crane School District will start offering free meals on June 5th.

Students ages 18 and younger will get a free meal at any site. Adults can buy breakfast and lunch for a small fee.

Credit Stephanie Sanchez
Canned fruit and vegetables in the pantry at O.C. Johnson Elementary School in Yuma, AZ.

Credit Stephanie Sanchez
Summer Food Service Progra schedule for Yuma Elementary School District One.

Credit Stephanie Sanchez
Food service sites for Crane School District in Yuma, AZ.

Credit Stephanie Sanchez
There are over 25 food service sites for the Yuma Union High School District.

Credit Stephanie Sanchez
O.C. Johnson Elementary School is one of the many schools in the district that will serve free breakfast and lunch beginning May 30th.

Credit Stephanie Sanchez
Pizza is one of the common meals on the lunch menu at O.C. Johnson Elementary School in Yuma, AZ.