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Summer Meals Season Over… See You Next Year!

by School's Out Washington | | Posted under Afterschool and Summer News

orange-300Although the heat persists, last week marked the last day of summer for hundreds of free meal sites in public parks, schools and other Seattle spaces. The sites have served free and nutritious lunches to Seattle children and youth since July and will continue to offer these services next summer.

SOWA staff visited Othello Park in Beacon Hill on the last day of the free summer meal program, and watched as kids took a break from playing to pick out their preferred foods with excitement. Throughout the summer, board games, basketballs and art supplies lined the adjoining tables, and hip hop and tap classes met at the park each week.

Many families rely on free or reduced priced lunches during the school year but the need for accessible food options does not stop when school is out. Summer meal sites provide kids with sustenance to develop into healthy young adults, and when combined with engaging summer activities, youth are more likely to attend programs to eat and learn.

The City of Seattle sponsors meal sites like Othello Park in collaboration with United Way of King County, Seattle Parks and Recreation and Seattle Public Schools.

With the start of the school year, providers are now looking for ways to distribute evening snacks and suppers so that low-income youth are able to eat healthy meals all year. Many afterschool meals are offered as part of high quality expanded learning programs that are of little or no cost.

The need for more sites to meet increasing demand is great, and providers are encouraged to spread the word that nutritious meals are needed year round to support children and their families.

Interested in learning more about afterschool and summer meals across Washington State? Emil Natalie at nkahn@schoolsoutwashington.org

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