Local summer food programs for kids - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Local summer food programs for kids

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RICHLAND, WA - Students who get free or reduced meals during the school year can also get them over the summer, families just need to know where to find them.

Reporter Stefani Zenteno talked with one local school district to find out how it works.

Children who miss school breakfast and lunch are more likely to get sick, be disruptive in class, and score low on tests. Good nutrition is essential for learning in school.

A federally-funded program called Summer Food Service allows students to continue to receive meals when school is not in session.

"That's great, it helps out a lot because we don't have a very big food budget," said Vicky Galada, a mother of two. "This actually helps spread my food budget out to help feed the kids."

Free lunch and breakfast is served to children up to age 18. In most places, kids don't have to live in a specific district to get the meals.

Linda Harmon is the kitchen manager at Richland High School...she says this morning they had about 75 kids for breakfast, and for lunch they had enough food to serve 200 kids.

"I've had the same families coming back year after year and I've got to watch the kids grow up, and they're all very appreciative," Harmon said.

The meals are available at no charge, and the location and times vary depending on the district. If you are interested, check with your school to see if they offer the summer meal program.

"There's no need to sign up, that's the luxury of the whole thing," said Program Coordinator Cheryl Wilson. "Any child can walk through our door from age one to 18 and be fed. There's no requirement, no signup. Anybody is welcome." 

And as a reminder: this 4th of July, most kitchens will be closed because of the holiday.