LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - As summer continues, a number of children in Lubbock and across the South Plains face a problem: hunger. But, the state and federal governments steps in during the summer to provide free meals to those children.
“The program is something the Department of Agriculture has set aside for different school districts,” said Director of Nutrition for Lubbock ISD, Lori Johnson. "Basically, my role is determining with the principals of our campuses which schools have the most need for students that would have the summer-long program.”
Johnson said the need is the reason the district has opened 15 of its school cafeterias across the city this summer.
“We work as a district to decide what locations would be summer-long. Additionally, we’ll have seven sites that are open just for summer school when there’s actually programs going on at some campuses," Johnson said. "So, we’ll do two and a half weeks of service at some of those schools as well.”
The district will feed any school-aged child two meals a day Monday through Thursday each week. The district will provide meals for breakfast and lunch.
The Summer Food Service Program started last week, and will run through the first week of August.
“An example of one of our menus today - for example- is corn dog with fresh corn, we have pinto beans, apple sauce, and apple juice available for the students to choose from," Johnson said. "And of course, a choice of chocolate or white milk.”
Both the state and the federal governments play separate roles in this program.
“The USDA has a summer program that you are able to open a site for any school that has a 50 percent free and reduced rate, they qualify for a site,” Johnson said.
Just over half of Lubbock ISD students qualify for free and reduced lunches throughout the school year, so it makes sense that they are providing food during the summer.
“First of all, the government decides which sites would qualify then we take that list of qualifying sites and we determine which ones need to be open based on community access and who has other programs going on different school programs will have things going on like camps (and) be open based on community access and who has other programs going on," Johnson said.
Lubbock ISD is offering the program at the following schools:
- Dunbar College Preparatory Academy
- Lubbock High School
- Monterey High School
For more information on where to find summer food program locations across Texas, visit squaremeals.org.