HESPERIA — The Hesperia Unified School District (HUSD) served free lunch to an average of 250 kids per day during their June summer lunch program, according to district officials.
HUSD staff gave food to youth between the ages of 2 and 18 at two locations throughout the month: Lime Street Park and Oak Hills High School.
The park site also hosted daily activities that ranged from composting to Zumba.
“We were excited to see the participation,” said HUSD Assistant Director of Nutrition Services April Brown. “It was cool to see the parents get involved in the activities and see them have a family picnic with their kids.”
The summer food program is usually hosted at one of the high schools in Hesperia, but this year HUSD decided to expand the program to the park in order to serve more kids.
“For the first three weeks it was crazy busy,” said Supervisor II of Nutrition Services LaShawn Bray. “We served 10,037 meals between both locations.”
The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) provides funding for the free lunch program.
According to the USDA website, the Summer Food Service Program ensures that low-income children continue to receive nutritious meals when school is not in session. The goal is to serve 200 million meals this summer.
Although the meals program has ended in Hesperia, other cities are still feeding children. Families can text “FOOD” to 877-877 to find a site.
For families that participate in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or Women, Infants and Children (WIC), the High Desert Farmers Market may be another option for the summer. It is the first market in San Bernardino County to accept EBT.
This year, they are celebrating their 25th anniversary and will be holding family-friendly events throughout the summer and the rest of the year according to their Facebook page.
The High Desert Farmers Market is located at Victor Valley College’s lower campus and operates every Thursday from 8 a.m. to noon.
As for HUSD, they feel their program was a success and have already started talking about expanding the program in the future.
“Hopefully, next year we’ll look into more sites — maybe churches, more parks,” said Bray. “All the parents and kids were very appreciative.”
For more information on HUSD nutrition services, call 760-948-1051 or visit www.schoolnutritionandfitness.com.