Free meals for students in Manatee County this summer

Manatee County Schools Food & Nutrition Services will feed hungry kids this summer.

The food, provided as part of the Summer BreakSpot program, will go to students throughout the district. The program was founded in 2008 and reached the goal of serving their one millionth meal last summer. Starting on June 5, Food & Nutrition Services (FNS) will once again serve free breakfast, lunch and or/snacks to students 5 days a week.

According to a release, Summer BreakSpot, which is part of a USDA program, is “designed to ensure that children continue to receive nutritious meals when school is not in session.” The service is not based on income and does not draw on Manate County School District General Funds. Instead, funding comes from meal reimbursements received from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

Food will also be provided to students in summer school programs.

This year’s menu includes wraps, whole grain hoagie sandwiches, pizza, burgers, fresh fruit, vegetables and low-fat milk. Additionally, there will be “watermelon Wednesdays”, where kids can try “Fresh from Florida” watermelon on mobile feeding buses.

Meals will be delivered to several locations throughout the community. Participating sites include Gethsemane Baptist Church, GT Bray Park, John H. Marble Park, YMCA, Just For Girls and Church of Christ on Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue. Two mobile feeding buses will be on-site at select locations to provide food as well as both indoor and outdoor seating, allowing kids to enjoy their meal in the comfort of air conditioning or in the shade of an awning.

Between the months of June and August more than 153,000 meals were served at 55 sites. Also, for the third year in a row, kids were fed during March 20-24 while on spring break, with more than 1,600 meals being distributed.

The School District of Manatee County websites states that FNS is a self-supported program that serves over five million students each year and provides service to more than 80 percent of the student population.