Schools might be out for the summer, but children suffering from food insecurity don’t get a break from the financial challenges they face. That’s why school districts, libraries and churches are continuing a host of summer breakfast and lunch programs.
Almost half the people who struggle with food insecurity in the United States are children, according to Feeding America.
Through free food programs, Brazosport ISD Child Nutrition Director Rachel Arthur is helping serve children in Brazoria County who need balanced, regular meals, she said.
“It’s a continuation of the meals that are served during the school year,” she said.
Anyone can get a hot, healthy breakfast daily from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. at Brazoswood High School, Brazosport High School, Brazos Success Academy, Clute Intermediate, Lake Jackson Intermediate, Lanier Middle School, Rasco Middle School, A.P. Beutel Elementary or Freeport Elementary.
A.P. Beutel Elementary and Freeport Elementary open back up for lunch at 10:45 a.m., according to the district. Brazosport High School opens for lunch at 11:30 a.m. Brazoswood High School, Brazos Success Academy, Clute Intermediate, Lake Jackson Intermediate, Lanier Middle School and Rasco Middle School open back up for lunch at noon.
All schools serve lunch until 12:30 p.m., according to the district.
It’s imperative to provide food to the community because not everyone has the luxury of getting fed every day, Arthur said.
“We know many of our students depend on our meals,” she said. “We want to make sure they have access to those meals if they need it.”
Children and teens don’t have to be a Brazosport ISD student to get a free meal, Arthur said.
West of the Brazos school districts offer similar programs for anyone 18 or younger. Sweeny ISD is serving free meals at Sweeny Elementary, 709 N. Sycamore St., until July 25.
The Sweeny ISD Child Nutrition department is providing free meals to students 18 years and under. Child nutrition employees will serve breakfast from 7:30 to 8 a.m. Monday through Thursday, with lunch from 11 to 11:30 a.m.
Columbia-Brazoria ISD child nutrition employees will serve breakfast from 8:00 to 8:30 a.m. Mondays through Thursdays, with lunch served from noon to 12:30 p.m., at West Columbia Elementary. The program ends June 28.
Children can also find meals at local libraries. The Houston Food Bank Kids Café Program will provide free lunches to children 18 and under in Alvin and Angleton.
The Alvin Branch will serve lunches from noon to 1 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays. The Angleton Library will serve lunches on from noon to 1 p.m. Mondays through Fridays.
The free meals will run through August and the food is for anyone in the community who needs it, Angleton Librarian Layna Lewis said.
Even if a child’s parents are working, they can walk to the library themselves and get a hot lunch, Lewis said.
“I think it’s important,” she said.
There is also a summer lunch program in Brazoria through Feed My Lambs at the First Presbyterian Church. There, the church prepares and deliver lunches Monday, Wednesday and Friday until August for children in the Brazoria area.
The church has been doing this for 11 years so it’s known that a need is there, Ginny Raska, head of Feed my Lambs, said.
“We take the meals to the kids,” she said. “Transportation is often a problem for people who are in need.”
Without these programs in place, people are going to go hungry, Raska said.
“If you can’t get to a feeding location, you are still going to go hungry,” she said.
The program is always looking for volunteers. Anyone interested in helping can call 979-798-7757.