June 4, 2015
State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Unveils Map to Help Families Find Places Serving Free Meals to Students this Summer
SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today announced that low-income families can find a place to take their hungry children for free meals this summer by visiting the California Department of Education’s updated 2015 Summer Meal Service Sites interactive Web map, or by calling 1-800-952-5609, option 3.
"Only one in five low-income children who eat subsidized meals during the school year are taking advantage of the summer meal program, meaning a lot of kids are unnecessarily going hungry this summer," said Torlakson. "I urge families to use this free service so their children will have access to the healthy, fresh food they need to grow, learn, and succeed in school."
Thousands of organizations in California have signed up to become Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) meal sites. These sites open after the school year ends or when year-round schools are off track for more than 15 consecutive school days. The sites must be located in areas where at least half the student population comes from low-income families. Families can go to any meal site and their children will receive free meals. No questions are asked and no income verification is needed. Many sites also offer fun activities for children.
Torlakson started his Summer Matters initiative to keep kids healthy and engaged in learning during the summer. Providing nutritious meals to low-income children during the summer break is critical to their growth, development, and learning. During summer, they often lack access to nutritious meals they usually get during the school year, which may contribute to "summer learning loss" and cause them to lag behind their peers when school resumes.
The CDE administers SFSP in the state for the U.S. Department of Agriculture that is an equal opportunity provider and employer. The SFSP program also supports the local economy when meal sites purchase food from local farmers.
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Tom Torlakson —
State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Communications Division, Room 5602, 916-319-0818, Fax 916-319-0100