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Free Lunch for Kids at 36 Locations, Breakfast at 2

Summertime means free lunches for kids -- and this year, breakfast -- with the ninth annual Summer Lunch Program running June 25 through August 27 (Flyer: English Acrobat PDF | Spanish Acrobat PDF). A cooperative venture between the San Diego Unified School District and the City of San Diego’s Park and Recreation Department, the Summer Food Program provides lunches to all kids regardless of income, at 36 locations around the San Diego Unified School District. Breakfast is served at two sites.

“There’s no enrollment, no paperwork and no income qualifications,” said Gary Petill, director of the district’s food services program. “All they need to do is be at one of the locations.”

The program provides healthy meals for children during the summer months when school is out. It is funded by the United States Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Services.

A kickoff barbecue on June 25 at the Skyline Recreation Center featured a nutrition decathlon, crafts, prizes, balloons and a jump inflatable. Radio Latina will broadcasted live from the party. More than 600 children, parents, friends and community members attended.

program, now in its fifth year, served more than 80,000 meals last year. “Just because it’s summer vacation doesn’t mean lunch is any less important.” Said Petill.

New this year is free breakfast, being served at two schools: Pacific Beach Middle School, 4676 Ingraham St.; and Wangenheim Middle School in Mira Mesa, 9230 Gold Coast Dr.

The 36 locations include many recreation centers, some schools, running from the beach area to Allied Gardens, Paradise Hills to University City. Free lunches will be served at city recreation centers from June 23 through August 27. Lunch dates at school sites vary, based on when the schools are open during the summer, as some are on a year-round schedule. They’ll also close earlier -- July 18 -- to prepare for the new school year.

Nationwide, the USDA’s Summer Food Service Program serves more than two million lunches every day. Lunch sites must be in areas where at least half of the local children are eligible for free or reduced price school meals.

Other programs are being offered by other school districts in other parts of the county. For information on where a summer lunch program might be near you, call the county-wide information number, 211.