Ignacio School District’s Food Service Program is providing free breakfasts and lunches to children 18 and younger as part of the federal government’s Summer Food Service Program.
Free and reduced meals are commonplace for low-income families during school. But when school is out, many children who rely on the meals go hungry, according to a blog post sponsored by the White House Rural Council.
The challenge is greater in rural areas and Indian Country, where 15 percent of households are “food insecure,” according to the post, which is authored by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack.
“In these areas, children and teens often live long distances from designated summer meal sites and lack access to public transportation,” they wrote.
The meals are offered at Ignacio Elementary School, said Kim Cotta, food service director for the Ignacio Food Service Program.
It is the only location in La Plata County participating in the Summer Food Service Program. Other locations include Aztec, Farmington, Dolores and Cortez. Visit www.fns.usda.gov/summerfoodrocks to find locations and other information about nearby summer meal sites.
Ignacio School District began serving meals June 8 and will continue through July 31, said Susan Velasquez, administrative assistant.
It serves mostly kids enrolled in the Boys & Girls Club of the Southern Ute Indian Tribe, but it currently has one other student who routinely comes for breakfast or lunches, she said.
On Monday, the club served breakfast pizza and bean and cheese burritos, she said. Breakfast is served from 7:45-8:45 a.m. Monday through Friday, and lunch is served 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Kids 18 and younger eat free. Breakfast is $2.50 for adults and lunch is $3.50 for adults.
In July 2014, more than 45,000 summer meal sites were available across the country, a 29 percent increase from 2009.
“The more the merrier,” Velasquez said.
An earlier version of this story erred in saying the Boys and Girls Club of the Southern Ute Indian Tribe provides free breakfasts and lunches. The meals are provided by Ignacio School District.