The reason: the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP), funded by the Department of Agriculture and available to children 2 to 18 during the summer months when classes aren’t in session.
“This is our third year of providing the program, and it’s open to all children in the community,” said Phyllis Thivierge, coordinator of food services for the Brentwood Union School District. “It’s good for the kids, and the parents are grateful to not worry about where their children’s lunch will be coming from.”
Originally founded as part of a larger pilot food program in 1968, the SFSP became a separate program in 1975. Open to any community in need, there is no enrollment, paperwork or income qualifications required to participate. An SFSP can be housed at a local school site, community center or city facility with the space to accommodate the operation. Staffed, run and organized by local individuals or organizations, the SFSP reimburses sponsors for the cost of the food. Throughout the years, the program has served nearly 3 million children nationwide.
In Oakley, where the program is being launched at three of its district’s school sites – Iron House Elementary, Oakley Elementary and Vintage Parkway Elementary – lunches will be available free of charge to children and teens both inside the district and out.
“We don’t ask questions; we don’t care where they come from,” said Cheryl Wagner, director of Nutrition Services with the Oakley Union Elementary School District. “We just want them to come on down and get something to eat. It’s a very needed service.”
Oakley’s free lunch program will run Mondays through Fridays from June 11 through July 13. The program will be closed on the Fourth of July. Those interested are invited to attend one of three locations:
• Iron House Elementary School, 4801 Frank Hengel Way, from noon to 12:30 p.m.
• Oakley Elementary School, 501 Norcross Lane, from 11:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.
• Vintage Parkway Elementary School, 1000 Vintage Parkway, from 11 to 11:30 a.m.
For more information, call the Oakley School District at 925-625-6852.
In Brentwood, participants can receive their free lunches at two locations Mondays through Fridays (Fourth of July excepted) beginning June 11 and running through July 20:
• Marsh Creek Elementary, 601 Grant St., from 11:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
• Villa Amador Community Center, 2101 Sand Creek Road, from noon to 12:30 p.m. For additional information, call the Brentwood Union School District at 925-513-6338.