Classrooms may be empty but children's bellies don't have to be. They can score free meals at several Plant City locations all summer long.
School may soon be out for summer but that doesn’t mean kids will go hungry thanks to a decades-old program funded through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), that works closely with states to ensure that children up to age 18 can get the nutrition they need when schools are closed during summer break.
Summer BreakSpot offers no-cost balanced breakfasts and lunches, depending on the site, at several locations in Plant City, including Bryan, Burney, Dover, Nelson, and Springhead Elementary Schools, Turkey Creek and Marshall Middle Schools, Plant City High School and the Plant City YMCA.
During each site’s scheduled mealtimes, children, with or without an adult, can sign in, walk to the cafeteria and get a delicious hot meal. At mobile feeding sites, cold meals are served.
Breakfast menus can consist of Kellogg’s cereals, mini pancakes or a Pillsbury cinnamon bar and juice and milk. Lunches might include a crispy chicken sandwich on a brioche bun or a cheeseburger with apple slices, baby carrots with ranch dip or Craisins and milk.
“This is for everybody, there’s no paperwork to fill out, no eligibility process,” said Hillsborough County Public Schools General Manager of Student Services Shani Hall. “We encourage all families to come out and participate.”
While available to all, the program aims to serve the county’s most vulnerable youth who rely on free or reduced-price meals during the school year and who may not have access to healthy meals during the summer months. According to Feeding America, one in eight children are at risk for hunger.
“We’re still dealing with so much food insecurity in Hillsborough County, this year hasn’t been easy for anybody because of the economic difficulties many families are facing,” said Hall. “It’s important for us to be able to feed children in Hillsborough County while the need is still so great.”
Find a Summer BreakSpot site, along with start dates and hours of operation, in three different ways: via the interactive map on its website, by dialing 2-1-1 or by texting “FOOD” or “COMIDA” to 304-304.