The Houston Independent School District is opening up more than 200 school cafeterias this summer to provide free breakfast and lunch to children in the community.
The Summer Meals Program, offered every year by HISD’s Nutrition Services Department, is designed to ensure all students have access to healthy meals — even when school isn’t in session.[photoshelter-gallery g_id=”G0000XscIs7waAqY” g_name=”20150603-Meals” width=”600″ f_fullscreen=”t” bgtrans=”t” pho_credit=”iptc” twoup=”f” f_bbar=”t” f_bbarbig=”f” fsvis=”f” f_show_caption=”t” crop=”f” f_enable_embed_btn=”t” f_htmllinks=”t” f_l=”t” f_send_to_friend_btn=”f” f_show_slidenum=”t” f_topbar=”f” f_show_watermark=”t” img_title=”casc” linkdest=”c” trans=”xfade” target=”_self” tbs=”5000″ f_link=”t” f_smooth=”f” f_mtrx=”t” f_ap=”t” f_up=”f” height=”400″ btype=”old” bcolor=”#CCCCCC” ]
Through the program, children ages 1 to 18 will be able to eat two meals a day for free. No registration or proof of income is required. Children do not need to be enrolled in summer school nor do they need to attend HISD schools to participate. Anyone over the age of 18 can purchase breakfast for $2 and lunch for $3.25.
“For many children in our community, the only meals they eat are the two that are provided each day at school,” said Audene Chung, senior administrator for HISD’s Nutrition Services. “We want to make sure these kids have consistent access to healthy, nutritionally balanced meals all year long.”
The program, which runs through July 17, kicked off on June 3 with a carnival-themed party at Gregg Elementary School. The party featured music, giveaways, face painting, carnival games, and an inflatable bounce house, as well as nutrition lessons and meals for those attending. A second kick-off party is scheduled for Thursday, June 4, from 10:30 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. at Rodriguez Elementary School.
“We host parties every year to get students excited about the summer meals program,” Summer Meals Coordinator Maggie Riley said. “We want children and parents across the city to know that there are places they can go for meals that are packed with the vitamins, minerals, and the calories needed for a healthy diet — and, more importantly, they’re free.”
Last summer, HISD served more than 1.7 million free meals to Houston-area children. This year, the district is hoping to expand its reach through partnerships with the Houston Food Bank and the Texas Hunger Initiative.
To find a summer meals location near you, visit www.houstonisd.org/summermeals. For more information about the program, contact the HISD Nutrition Services Department at 713-491-5944. For information on where to find free meals after July 17, contact the City of Houston Parks and Recreation Department at 713-676-6832, or call 2-1-1.