In San Luis Obispo County 43% or 14,600 K-12 children, are eligible for free or reduced priced meals during the school year.
Eligibility is determined by household size and income. In the 2018-19 school year children in a household of four can receive free meals at school if the household’s annual income is less than $32,630. They can receive reduced price meals if the household’s annual income is less than $46,435. To participate in this federal program, families must fill out an application at the beginning of the school year.
Once school is out, however, daily access to free meals at school is limited or nonexistent and many parents throughout our community struggle to provide meals for their families during the summer.
Regular access to nourishing food is particularly important for children as they grow and develop. When children live with food insecurity even on a temporary basis they may experience:
- a reduced ability to participate in daily activities
- increased risk of falling behind socially and academically
- increased behavioral issues
We believe in healthy, happy kids!
Our Summer Breakfast Bags address the summer hunger gap for children in our community by providing families with access to free, kid-friendly, and nutritious breakfast foods during a time of year that can be especially challenging for families with school-age children.
How It Works
We purchase healthy breakfast foods in bulk and recruit volunteers to help pack the food into reusable bags.
Each bag contains an assortment of shelf stable, kid-friendly breakfast foods, including cereal bars, instant oatmeal, cereal, peanut butter, milk, and canned and dried fruit.
In partnership with youth organizations, school districts, local housing authorities, and other social service organizations we distribute the bags to children in our county’s highest need areas in June, July, and August.
We coordinate with our Children’s Farmers’ Markets, which allows children to take home 10-15 lbs of fresh fruits and vegetables in addition to the shelf stable breakfast options.
Bilingual handouts with nutrition information are included in the bags, and we incorporate nutrition education lessons and activities at sites, delivered by our nutrition program manager and trained volunteers.
Additional Summer Resources
Free Summer Meals
Some school districts in San Luis Obispo County provide free meals to children and teens during the summer. As summer approaches, contact your school district’s food services department for more information about these free meal sites, or visit the California Department of Education’s Summer Meal Sites page:
2018 Summer Meal Sites
2019 Summer Meal Sites
Atascadero Unified School District (website)
Paso Robles Joint Unified School District (website) (2019 flyer)
Pleasant Valley Joint Union Elementary School District (website)
San Miguel Joint Union School District (website)
Shandon Joint Unified School District (website)
Templeton Unified School District (website)
Coast Unified School District (website)
Cayucos Elementary School District (website)
San Luis Coastal Unified School District (website) (2019 flyer)
Want more information about summer hunger?
Click here to read Feeding America’s 2018 Map the Meal Gap report.
– By Andrea Keisler, Director of Programs