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Free summer lunch starts

Serving 2,000 youth at 44 locations

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Free summer lunch starts

Manteca Unified nutrition education staff member Eunice Steves hands out a lunch to waiting kids during the Summer Lunch Program at Lincoln Park last year.

HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin/

POSTED May 31, 2016 1:59 a.m.

School may be out for the summer but hunger doesn’t take  a break.

It is why starting Wednesday Manteca Unified is rolling out its Summer Seamless Program for children ages 2 to 18 at 32 locations in Manteca, six locations in  Latrhop, five locations in Weston Ranch and one in French Camp.

Even though the reason Manteca Unified qualified for the federal  program is due to the high number of free and reduced meals it serves, there is no income eligibility requirements or need to register or show identification for a youth to obtain a free sack lunch Monday through Friday.

Lunches will be delivered in vans with the Manteca USD-Nutrition Education logo on them.

After the program starts Wednesday, it will run Monday through Friday until July 31. There will not be meal service on July 4 due to the Fourth of July holiday.

Typically the sack lunch consists of a sandwich, stone fruit, vegetables and milk.

Last year more than 2,000 meals were served on any given day.

This year a second barbecue day is being added where hot dogs are served. They will also be offering pizza on Fridays.

Meals have to be consumed on site. In the past no uneaten food was allowed to leave the premises MUSD Nutrition Services Director Patty Page said the United States Department of Agriculture has relaxed that rule this year to reduce food waste.

At one point last school year, 11,860 or 49.3 percent of the district’s 23,000 students received free meals. That dropped in March to 11,618 or 48.58 percent. 

Students receiving reduced meals went down from 11.98 percent or 2,845 or 11.18 percent or 2,673. Overall 61 percent of all students received free or reduced meals.

The drops came despite state-level changes that expanded eligibility rules.

Much of the financial stress with the Manteca Unified boundaries is driven by the fact that housing is exceptionally expensive in Manteca and Lathrop for San Joaquin Valley communities. City of Manteca research shows that under federal standards  nearly half  of the city’s households are stressed when it comes to housing expenses including utilities and such because more than 30 percent of their overall household income goes to housing. That is a direct result of sky-high housing prices in the Bay Area that are sending buyers east over the Altamont Pass to look for options that are affordable for them.

The free and reduced lunch program uses a sliding scale to determine eligibility. For example, a household with four in it making $31,525 a year qualifies for free student meals. A family of four with an annual household income between $31,526 and $44,863 is eligible for reduced meals. A singe parent with a child that makes less than $20,709 qualifies for free meals while those making between $20,710 and $29,471 qualify for reduced meals.

But because of how well the food service is operated — it covers all of its costs without being subsidized by the general fund — the district is able to drop the 25 cent charge the federal government usually requires for those that qualify for reduced meals and not free meals.

District leaders have noted students who have good nutritional meals and aren’t hungry are better behaved, have better attention, and retain more of what they learn. Retention of learning is one of the driving forces behind the federal effort to make sure kids have at least one nutritional meal Monday through Friday during the summer.

 Manteca locations for the summer lunch program are as follows:

u11 to 11:20 a.m. — Quail Ridge Park on Mission Ridge Drive, Sequoia Park on Wawona Street, Tesoro Park on Tesoro Drive, Chadwick Square Park on London Avenue, Springtime Park on Springtime Avenue, Hildebrand Park on Pine Street, Northgate Park on Hoyt Lane, Union West Park on Parkview Street

u11:30 to 11:50 a.m. — Doxey Park on Northgate Drive, Colony Park on Trailwood Avenue, Manteca High swimming pool, St. Francis Park on Devonshire Avenue, Graystone Park on Agate Avenue, Giles Memorial Park next to the Boys & Girls Club on Alameda Street,   Villa Ticino Park on Geneva Way, Primavera Park on Primavera Avenue

uNoon to 12:20 p.m. — Rodini Park on Lucio Street, Springport Park on Pestana Avenue, Franciscan Park on Elm Avenue, Baccileri Park on Stockton Street, Shasta Park on Edison Street, Morenzone Ballfield on Center Street, Roberts Estates Park on Rail Street, Mayors Park on Kelley Drive

u12:30 to 12:50 p.m. —  Raymus Park on Apache Drive, Sandpiper Village on Pennebaker Avenue,  Cotta Park on Mission Ridge Drive,  Lincoln Park on Powers Avenue,  Diamond Oaks Park on Pestana Avenue, Spreckels BMX Park on Spreckels Avenue,  Woodward Park on Woodward Avenue,  Library Park on Center Street 

Lathrop locations are:

u11 to 11:20 a.m. — Mossdale Landing Park on Towne Center Drive,  Generations Park across from Lathrop High

u11:30 to 11:50 a.m. — Libby Park on Libby Lane, Sangalang Park on Slate Street

uNoon to 12:20 p.m. — Valverde Park on Fifth Street

u12:30 to 12:50 p.m. — Park West Park on Shelter Cove Circle

Weston Ranch locations are:

u11 to 11:20 a.m. — St. George Parish, 144 W. Fifth St.

u11:30 to 11:50 a.m. — Paul E. Weston Park on EWS Woods Boulevard

uNoon to 12:20 p.m. — Long Park on Woodchase Lane

u12:30 to 12:50 p.m. — Weston Ranch Library on French Camp Road,  Smith Park on William Moss Boulevard

The French Camp location is from noon  to 12:30 p.m. at the Good Shepherd Church on French Camp Road.

If you have questions contact Nutrition Education at 858.0778.


To contact Dennis Wyatt, email

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