Roanoke offers resources for free meals for kids this summer

Published: Jun. 21, 2022 at 4:55 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - Finding meals for kids during the summer can be a challenge for families. Starting Tuesday, June 21, children under the age of 18 are able to receive free breakfast and lunch every day until August 12 in Roanoke.

Roanoke City Public Schools and Roanoke Parks and Recreation are providing free meals to children during the summer months.

Sarah Gill is the Roanoke Parks and Recreation Summer food coordinator. She explained the purpose of the USDA summer food meal service program.

“We make sure that children who normally have meals during the school year, they have access to food that’s healthy and nutritious,” Gill said.

Kids can go to a Roanoke Parks and Recreation meal site from 12 to 1 p.m. every day to get lunch. Meal site locations are: Indian Rock Village, Jamestown Place and Landsdowne Park.

Children can also go to an RCPS school during lunch time between summer classes. Meals at RCPS and Roanoke Parks and Recreation locations are first come, first serve.

Ellen Craddock, RCPS Director of Food Services, explained the benefits of families utilizing the program.

“It does really help provide opportunities for families who may be food-insecure to have access to healthy breakfast and lunches during the summer,” Craddock said.

Adults also have the option of joining their kids in a meal at RCPS schools. Parents and guardians would have to pay $2 for breakfast and $4 for lunch.

With the USDA Federal COVID-19 waivers expiring next week, schools and meal sites aren’t giving grab-and-go meals this year. That means children will have to eat meals on site and may not take them home.

“We encourage parents or guardians to come in with their students or their children to help them check in with the school, assist them to the cafeteria, provide supervision in the cafeteria, and help make sure they get home safely,” Craddock said.

With rising inflation costs, coordinators hope the summer meals can help families.

“Instead of a family, a parent or a guardian having to put money on food, they can take the money they need to cover some of the other expenses they may have in their household,” Gill said.

No registration for meals is required by adults or children. Children must check in with front offices at RCPS schools before receiving meals. The summer meal service runs every week day until August 12.

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