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Summertime and school cafeterias keep on cooking

Making healthy choices is the theme of school lunches these days. Salads, fruit, vegetables and grain-filled desserts are on the menu. (Oregon Department of Education)
Friday, June 29, 2018

When school lets out for the summer, thousands of Oregon children lose access to breakfast, lunch and after-school meals that are available during the regular school year.

Many children and families rely on these school meals to supplement what’s available at home. The Summer Food Service Program helps fill the gap by providing free nutritious meals to children and teens over the summer months.

Programs are offered throughout Clatsop County and the state.

Free meals and enrichment activities are offered at participating summer sites including many schools, parks and other nonprofit organizations.

The program is currently underutilized with many families unaware of the free meals and activities in their communities.

Nationally, only one in six children who receive free or reduced-price meals during the school year continue to receive meals during the summer.

Increasing awareness of and access to these programs can have a significant impact by helping to provide food to the neediest residents.

“We know the important role that child nutrition plays during the school year and it’s just as crucial in the summer months when children don’t have access to school meals,” said Colt Gill, director of the Oregon Department of Education. “We encourage families and caregivers to take advantage of this opportunity to help ensure the children they care for have access to good nutrition over the summer.”

Families can look up meal locations in their area by calling 2-1-1, or texting “Food” or “Comida” to 877-877, or visiting the Summer Food Oregon website. Meals are available for any child 18 or younger.

Local options include:

Warrenton: 11:30 to 12:30 weekdays at Warrenton Grade School, 820 S.W. Cedar Ave. Program runs through Aug. 24. Info: 503-861-2281. Old Hammond Library

Astoria: Programs are available at Astoria High School, Astoria Parks and Recreation’s Day Camp centers, Emerald Heights, Lewis and Clark Elementary, Peter Pan Park, and Tapiola Park.

Jewell: Jewell School.

Seaside: Broadway Middle School and Nehalem Valley Church.

A typical school-year breakfast selection of fruit, yogurt and granola. (Oregon Department of Education)

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