Free meals available this summer
Published: Wednesday, June 5, 2013 at 2:35 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, June 5, 2013 at 2:35 p.m.
Thanks to a federally funded food service program, children from infants to 18 years old will have an opportunity to receive free breakfast and lunch this summer at various school sites, community centers and churches beginning Monday in Alachua County.
The Summer Meal Program, offered through the Alachua County Public Schools Food and Nutrition Department, will offer formula for infants and breakfast and lunch for children and teens through the program, which is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. However, formula will not be offered at community centers.
Maria Eunice, director of food and nutrition services at the school district, said the program is open to any child, regardless of family income.
Joe Menasco, director of child nutrition programs at the Bread of the Mighty Food Bank, said the Kids Café is the main sponsor of the program. He said there are no requirements to participate and anyone who is 18 years old or younger can receive a free meal. "Kids can just show up," Menasco said. "We want to get the word out about our summer feeding program so that families can take advantage of it," Eunice said. "It's a wonderful opportunity for families to have free breakfast and lunch for their children throughout the summer."
Eunice said children don't have to be registered at the site by their parents, but they will need to provide their name and age the first time they visit a site.
"They just show up during the serving times and enjoy a nutritious meal," said Eunice. However, the child does not have to go to the same site each day to receive a meal.
To make sure infant formula is available, parents are being asked to call or show up in advance to the site. She said the formula has to be consumed onsite. Adults wanting to eat with their child can pay $3.15 for a meal, but the child will eat for free.
Last summer, 19,500 children received breakfast and 31,600 children received lunch at the school sites, while the Kids Café Summer Food Service Program provided 82,548 meals, including 22,329 breakfasts, 48,651 lunches and 11,568 snacks. "I expect to feed more children," Menasco said. "I expect to feed 85,000 to 90,000 children."
Shannon Keleher, recreation manager for the city of Gainesville, said recreation centers are not listed as sites because summer camps hosted at the recreation centers include off-site activities almost daily and on those days, meals will not be available.
"We don't want people to show up and we're not here," Keleher said.
Eunice said during the school year, 2.3 million lunches and 1.1 million breakfasts were served.
Below are school sites and other sites where free breakfast and lunch will be served in east Gainesville:
— Duval Elementary School, 2106 NE 8th Ave.: Breakfast, 7:15-8 a.m.; lunch, 11:30 a.m.-12:15 p.m., Monday-Thursday, Monday through July 18, closed July 4 (352-955-6703).
— Eastside High, 1201 SE 45th Terrace: Breakfast, 7:30-8 a.m.; lunch, 12:30-1 p.m., Monday-Thursday, Monday-July 25, closed July 4 (352-955-6704).
— Howard Bishop Middle, 1901 NE 9th St: Breakfast, 7:45-8:15 a.m.; lunch, 11:15-11:45 a.m., Monday-Thursday, Tuesday-July 31, closed July 4 (352-955-6701).
— Hoggetowne Middle, 3930 NE 15th St.: Breakfast, 8-8:30 a.m.; lunch 11:30 a.m.-noon, Monday-Thursday, Monday-June 27 (352-367-4369).
— Lake Forest Elementary, 4401 SE 4th Ave.: Breakfast, 7:30-8 a.m.; lunch, 11-11:30 a.m., Monday-Thursday, Monday-June 27 (352-955-6710).
— Lincoln Middle, 1001 SE 12th St.: Breakfast, 8-8:30 a.m.; lunch 11:30 a.m.-noon, Monday-Thursday, Monday-July 25, closed July 4 (352-955-6711).
— Metcalfe Elementary, 1250 NE 18th Ave.: Breakfast, 7:30-8:15 a.m.; lunch 11-11:30 a.m., Monday-Thursday, Monday-June 27 (352-955-6713).
— Rawlings Elementary, 3500 NE 15th St: Breakfast, 7:30-8 a.m.; lunch, 11:30 a.m-12:30 p.m., Monday-Thursday, Monday-July 25, closed July 2-4 (352-955-6715).
— Williams Elementary, 1245 SE 7th Ave.: Breakfast, 7:30-8 a.m.; lunch 11:30 a.m.-noon, Monday-Thursday, Monday-June 27 (352-955-6719).
— Bartley Temple United Methodist Church, 1939 NE 8th Ave.: Lunch, noon-1 p.m. Monday-Friday, Monday through Aug. 16, closed July 4 (352-376-6899).
— Eden Park Apartments, 1330 NE 39th Ave.: Lunch, 12:30 p.m.-1:15 p.m. Monday-Friday, Monday-Aug. 16, Closed July 4 (352-379-7772).
— The Glades Apartments, 4260 SE 10th Place: Lunch, 11 a.m.-noon, Monday-Friday, Tuesday-Aug. 17, closed July 4 (352-367-8111).
— Forest Pines, 1027 NE 25th St.: Lunch, 12:30-1:30 p.m. Monday-Friday, Monday-Aug. 16, closed July 4 (352-872-5500 ext. 258).
— Horizon House Apartments, 1515 NW 10th St.: Lunch, noon-1 p.m. Monday-Friday, June 17-Aug. 15, closed July 4 (352-955-6841).
— New Life in Christ Believers Tabernacle Outreach Ministry Inc., 601 S. Main St.: Lunch: noon-1 p.m. Monday-Friday, Monday-Aug. 16, closed July 4 (352-745-6375).
— Showers of Blessings Harvest Center, 2615 SE 15th St.: Breakfast, 8:30-9:30 a.m.; lunch, noon-1 p.m., Monday-Friday, July 1-Aug. 16, closed July 4 (352- 375-3589)
— Upper Room Ministries, 3575 NE 15th St.: Lunch, noon-1 p.m. Monday-Friday, Monday-Aug. 2, closed July 4 (352-264-0006).
— Woodland Park Boys & Girls Club, 331 SE 20th Place: Lunch, noon-1 p.m., Monday-Friday, Monday-Aug. 16, closed July 4 (352-377-8003).
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