School District Feeds Thousands Each Summer at 16 Sites; Locations Include Partner Organizations Like The Boys & Girls Club of Vista, Hosting a Celebration June 20th
VISTA, CA. June 2017 – School may be out for summer in Vista and other communities, but the need to feed hungry children continues there and across San Diego County. Starting June 8th, and continuing through August 11th, Vista USD, through a program by the USDA, will offer meals at 16 sites across the Vista and Oceanside communities it serves. Sites include VUSD schools, parks, community centers, and the Boys & Girls Club of Vista. When all sites are operating at once the district expects to serve over 8,000 meals per week.
On Tuesday, June 20th, the district invites media to the Boys & Girls Club of Vista for a nutrition celebration, where guests will get a glimpse of the partnership, which fosters the physical, nutritional, social and learning growth of children in the community. The celebration will include nutrition themes games and quizzes as well as music and dance presentation to coincide with the programs’ ‘60’s Week theme for participants.
“While we serve summer meals at many of our school sites, we also recognize that members of the community gather in other places, and we’re happy and willing to bring our fresh, healthy and delicious meals to those places,” says VUSD Director of Child Nutrition Services Jamie Phillips. “Statistically, just 1 out of 7 children who qualify for free or reduced meals during the school year eats a summer lunch, and we’d like to close that gap and provide that nutrition to the communities and children that we serve.”
“The Boys & Girls Club of Vista is thrilled to continue our partnership with Vista Unified School District to bring lunches to our summer program participants,” says Boys & Girls Club Director of Operations and Programs Raul Castillo. “By providing great meals to our summer program participants every day, we know that we are able to address their physical needs as well as social and emotional needs. Having the Vista USD staff provide this for us is a huge plus for our program.”
Each meals site operates during days and times that are most needed and accessed for the location. Some, like the Boys & Girls Club, will serve meals the entire June 8 – August 11 window, while others operate during shorter windows of time based on historical patterns of attendance.
The district is working to make information about the program as accessible as possible. Schedules and menus are posted on district and Nutrition Services websites, and via emails and handouts to parents and families from each school. The district is also promoting a meals location finder provided by the California Dairy Council. By texting FOOD (English) or COMIDA (Spanish), to 877-877, users will receive information on locations closest to them.
“We want this program to have as few barriers as possible,” says Phillips. “And so any way that we can reach our community and make this program easy and accessible is beneficial to everyone.” To that end, program directors note that meals are available to all children 18 & under, and no forms or paperwork will be required.
The USDA Summer Meals Program is a national program, and access to nutritious meals is a priority for school districts everywhere.
VISTA USD / BOYS & GIRLS CLUB SUMMER MEALS CELEBRATION INFORMATION
Who: Jamie Phillips, Director of Child Nutrition Services, Vista Unified School District; Raul Castillo, Director of Operations & Programs, Boys & Girls Club of Vista
What: Summer Meals Celebration. Nutrition themed games, quizzes and music/dance program
When: June 20, 2017; Reception from 11:30 AM – 12:30 PM .
Where: Boys & Girls Club of Vista. 410 California Ave. Vista, CA 92083