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District Provides Free Summer Meals for Children

Children under the age of 18 can eat a free breakfast, lunch, and snack at one of 60 locations in West Contra Costa County throughout the summer.

The West Contra Costa Unified School District (WCCUSD) food services program will serve meals as part of the Seamless Summer Feeding Program, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

The Summer Food Service Program runs through Wednesday, August 14. The program launched with a Summer BBQ last week at the WCCUSD Nutrition Center.

WCCUSD Director of Food Services Barbara Jellison recognizes the need for the program in West Contra Costa County.

"Many of our children who rely on school breakfast and lunch during the school year, do not have the energy they need during the summer. That's where we come in, by providing nutritious meals and activities to keep kids nourished and engaged," Jellison said. "Kids who get enough to eat and have safe activities to participate in during the summer are less likely to get into trouble. Our summer meals program is a building block in the community for healthy, happy kids who are ready to learn."

Olinda Elementary School students Kenlon, 8, and Kenyon, 6, attended the BBQ with their mother Erika Jones.

"I've always seen (the summer meal program) as a kickoff for the summer,” Jones said. "It's important and convenient for kids who are out in the neighborhood seeing there are lunch options in the community."

The Contra Costa Food Bank and Contra Costa Health Services will provide nutrition education to children involved in the program.

Summer meals will be served at approved locations that are in low-income areas or serve low-income children, most of whom are low-income. Hosts of the summer program for this year include faith-based organizations, non-profit organizations, schools and local government agencies. A list of locations and menus can be found online at www.wccusd.net/summermeals