L.A. Unified to Offer Youngsters Free Meals this Summer

LOS ANGELES (June 11, 2018) – Hunger never takes a holiday, which is troubling for youngsters who rely on the meals served at school to keep them fed. To help children stay well-nourished now that school is out, L.A. Unified is again hosting a summer meals program for kids in lower-income neighborhoods.

“Children still need food when school is out,” Superintendent Austin Beutner said. “The Summer Food Service Program will provide free, healthy meals to anyone between the ages of 1 and 18 years old without requiring them to participate in classes or recreational activities.”

“Students continue growing and learning in the summer,” said Board President Mónica García. "L.A. Unified is proud to be the community space kids can come for nourishment as it will continue to provide access to important meals and preparing our students for graduation.”

“Childhood hunger doesn’t break for summer and neither does our responsibility to ensure that every child who relies on L.A. Unified for nourishing meals throughout the school year can count on us for the same during the summer months,” said L.A. Unified School Board Vice President Nick Melvoin.  “Every child deserves the food security we are working to provide—in Los Angeles and around the world.”

The program rolled out Monday, June 11, at Barrett and Wilmington Park Elementary schools, and Bell, Hawkins and Bravo Medical Magnet High schools. It will begin on Tuesday, June 12, at Mack Elementary School and Mendez Learning Center. Meal service will begin on Monday, June 18, at 349 other schools. The service will extend through July 27 at most sites, although some schools will have shortened programs.

“Summer meals are essential to the ongoing health and nutritional needs for our students,” said School Board Member Dr. George McKenna III. “Our ability to deliver uninterrupted meal service when school is out underscores the District’s commitment to serving the whole child.”

“Through this program, we can ensure that every student will receive the nourishment needed to stay healthy and excel in their summer activities. Most importantly, parents can rest assured that their kids will have a balanced meal free of charge,” School Board Member Scott M. Schmerelson said.

“I believe that, as compassionate humans, we should care for one another as best as we possibly can—which is especially true for children living in difficult circumstances through no fault of their own. So it is heartening that L.A. Unified is taking this humanitarian action. It reflects the best side of our human nature,” said Board Member Dr. Ref Rodriguez.

"The end of the school year should not result in students going hungry,” said Board Member Dr. Richard Vladovic. “As someone who represents some of the most economically disadvantaged communities in the District, I know that many of our students face not just the end of a semester, but the end of access to what might be their only regular source of meals. I am proud that Los Angeles Unified is working to be a part of ending childhood malnutrition, and encourage others to do their part to ensure that students don't go hungry once we begin summer vacation."

Meal times will vary, although most of the sites will serve lunch between 11 a.m. and noon. Snacks will also be available at many of the schools.

In addition, through a partnership with the Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks, summer meal service will also be available at 101 municipal sites beginning Monday, June 11.

“There is a real need for meal service in the summer,” said Manish Singh, the District’s interim Food Services director. “More than 80 percent of our students qualify for either free or reduced-price meals.”

###

Contact: Shannon Haber (213) 241-6766