Hoping to instill the importance of proper nutrition to youngsters in the High Desert and beyond, the Hesperia Unified School District (HUSD) will offer its annual, free Seamless Summer Feeding Program beginning Monday and continuing through June 29.

According to David Carochi, director of nutrition services for HUSD, kids ages 2 to 18 will be eligible for a complimentary afternoon meal Mondays through Thursdays at Oak Hills High School in Oak Hills and Lime Street Park in Hesperia.

Carochi said all the menu items that will be served meet the federal nutrition standards for school meals and include fruits, vegetables, legumes and healthy treats.

“Every child will come off the line with a fruit or a vegetable on their plate,” said Carochi. “The meals are very well-rounded, which I know makes parents happy.”

Among the menu items will be cheeseburgers, spicy chicken sandwiches, chili cheese dogs and Dominos Pizza, which Carochi said also meets federal nutrition guidelines. Side dishes will include corn, baby carrots, broccoli buds, vegetarian baked beans, apples and oranges.

“In past years, we have only served food at one location, but this year we decided to partner with the City of Hesperia and add Lime Street Park to our outreach,” said Carochi. “We are aiming to expand and reach more kids than ever before. Last year, we served about 400 children a day and this year, we are hoping to serve at least 500 per day.”

Along with serving meals, the Seamless Summer Feeding Program also will include special activities, such as exercise classes, gardening instruction, craft projects and story times.

“This program is open to any kid, even those outside the community,” said Carochi. “For instance, if a local family has youngsters who are visiting them, they are more than welcome to come for a free meal.”

The lunch program will kick off at 10:45 a.m. at Lime Street Park and will feature a farmer’s market, a presentation by the High Desert Dairy Council, a radio music broadcast by Y102 FM and other family-friendly activities.

The venue is located at 16292 Lime St., in Hesperia. Hours for the free meals at Lime Street Park are 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Youngsters can get their free lunches at Oak Hills High School from 10 to 11 a.m. The school is located at 7625 Cataba Road, Oak Hills.