When the final bell of the school year rings, many children who rely on free or reduced price school meals are left at serious risk of going hungry – but not in Albuquerque, NM. Albuquerque Public Schools has partnered with city and county officials to ensure kids can enjoy their vacations without worrying about where their next meal will come from.
This summer, the district’s Food and Nutrition Services staff will be busy preparing and transporting breakfasts and lunches to nearly 200 city and county sponsored summer programs held in parks and recreation facilities throughout the region. Any child who shows up at mealtime will be provided a free, well-balanced meal, complete with milk. This year, the Summer Food Program is expected to serve up to 16,000 children a day!
Without kitchen facilities at the program sites, Food and Nutrition Services must stick to a cold menu, but the staff mixes things up with entrees ranging from the traditional ham and cheese sandwich to a chicken salad stuffed pita and a chef’s salad. And kids won’t miss out on their fruits and vegetables this summer – offerings range from broccoli, celery and carrot sticks to strawberries, blueberries and tangerines.
Food and Nutrition Services has been working throughout the school year to encourage Albuquerque students to try those fruits and veggies. The district showcases a different produce item on the menu each month, providing kids with fun activity sheets and experimenting with different preparation methods to peak students’ interest in healthy choices.
These lessons are carried into the classroom through the district’s Kids’ Tasting program, which provides elementary students tasting classes, allowing kids to try different fruits and vegetables and learn about how they fit into a healthy diet.
It’s all part of Albuquerque Public Schools’ effort to promote good nutrition all year round!