Through late July, children in Merced up to age 18 can get a nutritious midday meal at 12 school and community sites.
This is at least the 10th year when the Merced City School District has provided meals to youngsters at no cost, thanks to grant funds from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, according to Terri Soares, director of the district’s Department of School Nutrition Services.
Soares said the schools provide a much healthier meal than youths would get at home. This year, the amount of fruit and vegetables provided will be even greater and children are complaining about them less, particularly the younger ones.
Between 2,500 and 3,000 meals are served daily. Each meal costs just under $3 and all costs are borne by the USDA, Soares said. The program began last week and ends July 25.
Diane Shaw, co-principal of the district’s summer school session at Burbank Elementary School, said the feeding program has been running smoothly, and it’s a comfortable environment for children and their families.
Shaw said families appreciate their children get a meal in a clean and air-conditioned environment.
RoseMary Parga Duran, district superintendent, said the summer feeding program is a winner for everyone.
“We make sure these children are fed,” Duran said. “It’s a good thing, especially with the poverty and unemployment in Merced County.”
Feeding sites are Burbank, Gracey, Reyes, Sheehy, Stefani, Stowell and Tenaya schools.
Meals also are supplied at the Women, Infants and Children site at 1235 W. Main St., Merced Meadows at 3125 Meadows Ave., United Methodist Church at 899 Yosemite Parkway, Grace Bishop Academy, 2025 E. Santa Fe Ave., and Merced Playhouse Theater, 452 W. Main St.
Times generally are 10:45 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Tenaya’s meals are served from 12:15 to 12:45 p.m., and the Playhouse Merced meal is from 11:30 a.m. to noon.
The district also is offering meals through July 3 at Schelby School at 6738 N. Sultana Drive, Livingston, from 11 to 11:30 a.m.