Many summer programs have been eliminated by Los Angeles school district officials in response to the poor economy and cuts to education spending, reducing the times and places that needy students can receive free food, according to the Los Angeles Times.
“Very few policy makers consider the nutritional impact of summer school reductions, which directly jeopardize the health and academic success of 1.9 million low-income students who received free or reduced-price meals during the school year,” Matthew Sharp, a senior advocate at California Food Policy Advocates told the Times.
In response, the Los Angeles Unified School District has set up alternative feeding and enrichment programs for students who rely on federally subsidized school meals for proper nutrition. Free meals will be offered at 260 district schools. All children ages 1 to 18 may participate, regardless of whether they attend school.
Five million meals are expected to be served this summer, roughly ten times the amount that was served last year.
Other agencies, including the Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks, will also be offering lunches and snacks for needy students.