San Diego County

Schools, Libraries Offer Free Lunches During Summer

For many students who fall into the category to receive free meals, school lunches are essential to maintain proper nutrition, but when school is not in session, some no longer have those resources.

Through a returning partnership with the California Summer Meals Coalition, several San Diego County school districts and city library branches are serving free, healthy lunches during the summer for children 18 years old and under.

To help address the nutritional needs of families during the summer break, several locations are offering free lunches to students 18 years of age and younger, with no enrollment process.

The locations running the free summer meal program include:

  • Chula Vista Main Public Library (365 F Street; month of June; 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m.)
  • South Public Library (389 Orange Avenue; month of June; 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m.)
  • Rogers Elementary School (510 East Naples; month of June; Breakfast: 7:00 a.m. to 7:30 a.m.; Lunch: 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.)
  • Chula Vista Middle School (415 5th Avenue ;June 5 to July 7, no meals July 4; Lunch: 10:45 a.m. to 11:15 a.m.)
  • Hilltop Middle School (44 East J Street ;June 5 to July 7, no meals July 4; Lunch: 10:45 a.m. to 11:15 a.m.)
  • Montgomery High School (5430 Torrance Boulevard ;June 5 to July 7, no meals July 4; Lunch: 10:45 a.m. to 11:15 a.m.)
  • San Ysidro High School (5353 Airway Road ;June 5 to July 7, no meals July 4; Lunch: 10:45 a.m. to 11:15 a.m.)

County libraries are also offering free lunches at the Borrego Springs Library, Casa de Oro Library, Chula Vista Library, El Cajon Library, Jacumba Library, Julian Library, Lincoln Acres Library, Ramona Library, Spring Valley Library, Valley Center Library, Vista Library, among others.

The Oceanside Unified School District received a $20,000 grant from the National League of Cities to address student hunger during the summer, and is offering free meals at 16 locations throughout the Oceanside area, including the Abby Reinke Youth Center, the City of Oceanside Library, Oceanside and El Camino High Schools, and all of their elementary schools. Meals for adults are also available for a $4.00 fee.

A 2012 report from the National Summer Learning Association found that proper nutrition promotes brain development and improves cognitive functioning. Inadequate nutrition, the report found, is associated with physical and mental health issues, emotional and behavioral problems, learning deficiencies, lower grades, and repeating a grade in school.

To find the nearest location offering free meals in San Diego County, parents can text "food" to 877-877 or call 2-1-1 for more information.

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