For families struggling to care for children over the summer break, several area school districts are offering free meals.
These free meal programs are open to any child without the need for applications or paperwork or proof of residency.
“Children need nutritious meals to learn, grow and thrive, even when school is out,” Belton Independent School District Nutrition Director Rob Pasichnyk said. “With the Summer Feeding Program, children and teens under the age of 18 can continue to eat healthy throughout the summer at no cost.”
In Belton ISD, children can get free lunch from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, June 3 through Aug. 9 at Miller Heights Elementary School, 1110 Fairway Drive.
At Southwest Elementary School, Belton ISD is serving both breakfast and lunch on the same dates. Breakfast is 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. and lunch is 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The school is located at 611 Saunders St.
The district is serving lunch at the Belton Christian Youth Center, 505 E. Ave. C, from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, June 10 through Aug. 9.
All of these locations are closed July 4 and 5.
Funding for free summer meals comes from the Texas Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Salado Independent School District Superintendent Michael Novotny sent out an announcement to all parents letting them know lunch locations can be found using the interactive website at squaremeals.org. Info can also be found by calling 211 or texting FOODTX to 877-877.
“Salado is not eligible to host this program because less than 50 percent of our students qualify for free or reduced-price meals in the National School Lunch Program,” Novotny said.
Although these meals are free only for those under 18, parents may be able to pay a small fee to eat with their children at some locations.
Temple Independent School District has more weekday free meal locations available than most districts, with greater variation in the times and dates. The Temple ISD locations are also closed July 4 and 5.
At Ralph Wilson Youth Club, children can have breakfast from 7:15 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. and lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. June 3 through Aug. 9. The club is at 1515 S. 25th St.
At Meredith-Dunbar Early Childhood Academy, 1717 E. Ave. J, lunch is available from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and snacks are served from 2:30 to 3 p.m., also June 3 through Aug. 9.
Wilson Park Recreation Center, 2205 Curtis B. Elliott Drive, will serve lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and snack from 3 to 3:30 p.m., also from June 3 to Aug. 9. St. James United Methodist Church, 707 S. Third St., will host breakfast from 8 to 9 a.m. and lunch from 11 a.m. to noon, June 3 through July 26.
At Temple High School, 415 N. 31st St., and Thornton Elementary School, 2825 Cottonwood Lane, breakfast will be served from 7:15 to 8:15 a.m. Lunch will be from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Temple High and 10:30 a.m. to noon at Thornton, both from June 5-26.
There will be lunch from noon to 1 p.m. June 5 through Aug. 9 at the Jaycee Park Pavilion, 2302 W. Ave. Z. Lunch will be from 12:30 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. June 3 through Aug. 2 at the Temple Cultural Activities Center, 3011 N. Third St.
A number of smaller school districts are also offering free summer meals.
In Moody Independent School District, meals will be served at the Moody Elementary cafeteria, 107 Cora Lee Lane.
From June 3-20, children can eat breakfast from 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. and lunch from 11 a.m. to noon, Monday through Thursday.
The Moody meals program will resume July 29 through Aug. 8, with the same days and hours.
In Bartlett Independent School District, 404 Robinson, there will be breakfast from 7 to 8 a.m. and lunch from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the school cafeteria from June 3 to July 18.
There will be free breakfast from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m., Monday through Thursday June 3-27 at Troy High School, 205 N. Waco Road.
There will be both lunch and breakfast served at Rosebud-Lott High School, 1789 U.S. Highway 77, from 7:30 a.m. through 8:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. through 12:30 p.m.
Free meals will be available at Jarrell Elementary School, 1615 Country Road 313, from 7:30 to 9 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Thursday, May 28 through June 27.
Cameron Independent School District will offer free lunches from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. June 3-28 at Yoe High School, 303 E. 12th St., and Cameron Elementary/Junior High School, 404 E. 22nd St.
At Buckholts School, 203 S. 10th St., kids can eat free from 8 to 8:30 a.m. and from 11:30 a.m. to noon June 3-27.