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Free lunches available to kids in Santa Maria this summer

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Posted at 6:24 PM, Jun 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-16 22:20:33-04

For a lot of kids, summer break means it's time to stop stressing about homework and start thinking about that next day at the beach.

For many families in Santa Barbara County, however, three months away from school leaves parents wondering where their children will get their next meal.

Beginning this week and continuing through Aug. 5, the Food Bank of Santa Barbara County will be giving out meals to anyone 18-years-old or younger, no questions asked, Monday through Friday at various distribution sites.

"We have a lot of kids who qualify for free and reduced lunch throughout the school year, but when school ends, we have summertime and students still need those meals," said Anna Boren, Donor Relations Supervisor for the Food Bank.

Miriam Villagran of Santa Maria says she takes her kids to the park often and when she found out free lunches would be given out, she is now urging other parents in her community to do the same.

"I know there are a lot of parents who don't have resources to buy food," Villagran said. "I just want to invite you guys to go to the park. I know there are a lot of parks that are giving out free lunches for the community, so this is a great opportunity."

Those free lunches will be given out across six different locations in Santa Maria.

Community Programs Supervisor to the Food Bank, Monica Buenrostro, anticipates her team will have served 1,000 meals every day this summer. She says they also place an emphasis on providing meals that are nutritious.

The food bank says by the end of the summer, they are expecting to have served 30,000 meals to kids throughout Santa Barbara County and that they are dependent on volunteers, fundraisers and donations to help keep their services going.

You can find information on the free lunches offered closest to your home by visiting the Food Bank of Santa Barbara County's website, or by texting the word, "FOOD" to 304-304.

Distribution sites are also available in Goleta, Santa Barbara and Carpinteria.