HISD offers free summer meals to children

June 7, 2011 11:29:21 AM PDT
Summer vacation is here. For thousands of Houston families, it can mean the extra stress and money to provide a lunch that kids get at school all year long. That's why Houston ISD is doing what it can to make sure children of all ages continue to get healthy, well-balanced meals, even when school is not in session.

There are more than 200 schools where kids can eat for free twice a day this summer, and HISD says because of the economy, this federally-funded program is being used now more than ever before.

This is an easy program, because parents don't have to register, and their kids don't even have to attend an HISD school to eat for free. It is open to children ages 1-18. The kids can enjoy breakfast and lunch just by showing up to any of the participating schools.

HISD says it saw the number of kids needing meals go up over the last three years. Last year 1.8 million meals were served, and, with many parents facing financial hardship, the district expects that number to rise again this year.

HISD is a district in which 80 percent of children are financially disadvantaged enough to qualify for free and reduced meals during the school year. But when summer comes, those children become at risk for going hungry.

"I will say for a lot of kids, probably, they're going to be the only meals that they are going to have during the day," said Pilgrim Academy Assistant Principal Ignacio Hernandez. "I know firsthand, because I have some kids in my office, when I talk to them, sometimes they have to help parents, selling things after school and working. This free meal project, it's critical."

"During the year we've seen an average of about two percent more this year than last year taking advantage of our free or reduced meal programs," said Julie Spreckelmeyer with HISD Food Services. "We're thinking that this trend is going to carry over into the summer."

Breakfast is served from 7:30am - 8:30am and lunch from 10:30am - 12:30pm. This plan runs Monday through Thursday at some locations, and Monday through Friday at others. The list of school locations can be found here.

Parents can even eat with their children at a rate of $2.00 for breakfast and $3.25 for lunch.

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