Local kids through age 18 can enjoy free lunches this summer at locations across Sacramento County through mid-August, thanks to United Way California Capital Region’s summer meals program. For a list of sites serving summer meals, text FOOD to 877-877, call 2-1-1 or visit www.yourlocalunitedway.org/summermeals.
“We already have too many kids struggling with food insecurity in our region, and that number gets even higher during summertime when kids don’t have after-school meals as an option,” said Stephanie Bray, president and CEO, United Way California Capital Region. “We’re encouraging all families to take advantage of this great opportunity to make sure kids have enough to eat this summer.”
United Way and its partners will be providing summer literacy activities at the meal sites to ensure kids do not experience what Bray refers to as “summer slide.”
“Kids who don’t read during the summer can go back to school in the fall up to three grade levels behind where they were when they left for summer break,” Bray said. “So we’re working with our summer meals sites to also provide educational activities while kids are already there for food. With bellies full of healthy food, and brains full of fun learning activities, kids will return to school in the fall ready to keep learning.”
In the capital region, one in five children struggles with food insecurity. United Way’s healthy meals program increases local children’s consumption of well-balanced, nutritious meals after school and throughout the summer. Meals are made with high-quality, minimally processed ingredients that are nutrient dense, low-sodium, have minimal preservatives and no high fructose corn syrup. The focus on local produce helps expose kids to a variety of fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables.
United Way’s healthy meals program is part of its Square One Project, United Way California Capital Region’s 20-year promise to significantly increase the number of local students who graduate from high school ready for success in college and beyond. Through nine decades of work and research across Amador, El Dorado, Sacramento, Placer and Yolo counties, the local United Way believes ending poverty starts in school and is working to ensure kids meet important milestones to prepare for success in college or career. To learn more or make a donation: www.yourlocalunitedway.org.