FORT PIERCE — While school is out this summer, and food costs are expected to continue to squeeze household budgets, more families than ever may be looking for help to feed their kids. The Summer Meals Program at Treasure Coast Food Bank provides kids and teens with free, nutritious meals and a safe haven while school is out from June 5 through August 4. Treasure Coast Food Bank is currently seeking site partners who can provide a safe place to serve meals this summer.
Treasure Coast Food Bank works with partners across Indian River, St. Lucie, Martin and Okeechobee counties. Tens of thousands of Treasure Coast public school children rely on the federal free- or reduced-school lunch program during the school year. In the St. Lucie School District, the largest in the area, more than 67% of students are eligible for the program for the 2022-23 school year, according to the Florida Department of Education.
“Our Summer Meals Program is critical to ensure that children throughout the Treasure Coast get reliable access to healthy, nutritious meals,” Treasure Coast Food Bank President and CEO Judith Cruz said. “In order to continue serving students in our area, we rely on site partners who open up their spaces to provide meals, activities and a sense of safety so children don’t go hungry during the summer months.”
With the goal of reaching children in their neighborhoods, Treasure Coast Food Bank is looking for partners like community centers, faith-based and nonprofit organizations throughout the Treasure Coast to provide easy access to nutritious meals for kids. Treasure Coast Food Bank partners with organizations such as the YMCA, Whole Food Connection, and Your Plate Health & Wellness whose partnerships are integral to Treasure Coast’s role in ending hunger.
To participate, the site requirements are:
• Complete Treasure Coast Food Bank’s online application and training
The Summer Meals Program includes breakfast, lunch and snacks at no cost to children 18 and under. Meals typically include freshly made sandwiches or wraps, milk, juice and fresh-cut fruits and vegetables made daily in Treasure Coast Food Bank’s food production kitchen. Breakfasts include an assortment of easy-to-serve items such as granola bars and cereals. Each site can select which two options it wants to provide.
Children who visit Treasure Coast Food Bank’s partnership sites will receive a meal and may also participate in fun enrichment activities focused on the promotion of healthy eating and healthy living.
To become a serving site or to learn more, please visit stophunger.org/summermeals.