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Free meals for children at local schools and community centers during the summer

By Brisa Colón

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    SALINAS, California (KSBW) — With food prices rising, parents can feel a sigh of relief this summer. Many local cities and school districts are taking some stress off the community by offering free meals during the summer. Many programs starting today help feed children 18 and under as part of the Federal program, “Seamless Summer Option. “

Districts like Salinas City Elementary and Alisal are going above and beyond to feed the children of their communities. Gioconda Padilla, assistant superintendent of Business Services for the Salinas City Elementary School District, says they are doing what they can to help their city.

“We normally have about 8,200 students district-wide. 90% are Latinos, and at least 75% are considered socio-economically challenged. So, the fee meals are very important for us in our community,” Padilla said.

Salinas City Elementary School District offers an enrichment program to help children learn STEAM and grow during the summer. The students can eat breakfast, lunch, and snacks during this program.

Padilla says that the district is always striving to improve and accommodate the communities needs, “I was talking to our lead cook here at Kammann. We are exploring some opportunities because kids want pozole. We are looking at all those pieces and hoping to implement that really soon.”

The Alisal School District offers various options for the community. Children can attend a summer program or pick up lunches from multiple schools or recreational centers. Irene Vargas, the Director of Nutritional Services Purchasing and Distribution, says that the district is working to provide the most healthy options for its students.

“These kids are constantly growing. [The meals] are packed with high nutrition whole grain-rich, low sodium meals. They know when they come here, it’s going to be healthy.”

Other than just schools, meals are offered at parks, recreation centers, and libraries. Vivian Salinas, the community services manager for the city of Salinas, says the city works hand and hand with the district.

“We have so many kids come through our program. They are very grateful for us being able to provide something for their families and kids while they are out of school. Not everybody gets to go to summer school, so they are still looking for places that offer some kind of food.”

The Monterey Peninsula School District also offers meals for children at 12 campuses and two community sites, the Marina Library and Seaside Library. For more information on where you can get a free lunch for your child, you can contact their school or school district to find times and days.

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