The school year may be over, but as inflation, rising rent, and the mounting cost of gas take a financial toll on Central Florida families, the season for food insecurity is just beginning. To support students and their families while school is out of session, OCPS is celebrating the kick-off of “Summer Meals All Summer Long,” a free annual program for all Orange County Public Schools students under 18 through July 31st.
The summer feeding program will provide nutritious breakfast and lunch meals, at no charge, to children 18 and younger at 224 locations throughout Orange County. Each meal served during the summer will include fresh fruits and vegetables, an entrée and milk. All menu items are taste-tested and approved by a positive student vote of at least 80%. Last summer, OCPS FNS served a total of 1,686,495 meals to Orlando students across the district.
“The summer meals are critical for many of our children’s health,” said Lora Gilbert, Sr. Director, OCPS Food and Nutrition Services. “Hunger does not end, nor does the need for fresh fruits and vegetables, milk, or protein every day. We want parents to know that children have access to nutritious meals Monday – Friday at no charge, all summer.”
Meals are available at schools with summer programs, summer camps and several churches. There are also six branches of the Orange County Library: Chickasaw, Fairview Shores, Hiawassee, North Orange, South Creek, and South Trail.
The USDA (through the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services) funds the summer meals program each year.