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Summer Meals in California Promote Health and Education

To enjoy nutritious fresh fruit smoothies - Summer Food kickoff participants power a blender using a stationary bicycle.

To enjoy nutritious fresh fruit smoothies - Summer Food kickoff participants power a blender using a stationary bicycle.

On the grounds of Valley Hi-North Laguna Library in Sacramento, California, upwards of 150 children participated in the California Summer Meals kickoff event hosted by the California Summer Meal Coalition, Sacramento Public Library, and the Elk Grove Unified School District.  USDA’s Summer Food Service Program offers free meals during summer break so kids are better fueled with healthy food to learn and grow all year long.

Though the weather approached 100 degrees, the children were not deterred from learning about the importance of healthy meals during the summer months at this event.

Across the spacious summer food program kick-off site, children clutched their fresh fruit smoothies created by a blender which was powered by a stationary bicycle.  They also enjoyed a face painting station, a hula-hoop station, bean bag contests, and an FNS trivia game.

Holly Prestegaard, Program Specialist of the Western Regional Office of USDA Food and Nutrition Service, with children at the Valley Hi-North Laguna Library in Sacramento, CA.

Holly Prestegaard, Program Specialist of the Western Regional Office of USDA Food and Nutrition Service, with children at the Valley Hi-North Laguna Library in Sacramento, CA.

For the parents in attendance, this kick off was just the start.  They are now equipped with information to ensure that their children will have an opportunity to eat nutritious meals this summer. Access to nutritious meals during the months when children are not in school and do not receive a school breakfast or lunch helps them stay both healthy and educationally sharp. That’s why it’s so important that we continue to feed kids during the summer.

Food and nutrition partners in California understand that closing the summer meals gap is a team effort.  The collaboration between the California Library Association and California Summer Meal Coalition, in partnership with the Food and Nutrition Service and the California Department of Education raised awareness among families in Sacramento – and across the state – about free, healthy lunches available through the USDA summer meals program.

For more information on how USDA works with its partners to prevent child hunger during the summer months please visit our Summer Meals site. There, you can also find out how to locate a summer meals site near you.

Children, parents and community partners participate in story time led by Chris Davis, Youth Services Librarian, at the Valley Hi-North Laguna Library in Sacramento, CA.

Children, parents and community partners participate in story time led by Chris Davis, Youth Services Librarian, at the Valley Hi-North Laguna Library in Sacramento, CA.

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