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Free lunches for 23,000 plus kids
Manteca Unified offering sack lunches at area city parks
sack lunch1
Youth received free lunches last summer at the Boys & Girls Club. The school district is expanding the free lunch program to 12 other locations. - photo by HIME ROMERO

Free sack lunches are being distributed weekdays this summer to children 2 through 18 years of age at 12 locations in Manteca, Lathrop, French Camp, and Weston Ranch.

Any child can take one regardless of income.

“They (the children) won’t be asked where they live, they won’t have to fill out any forms, and it doesn’t matter what income their families have,” said Patty Page, director of Manteca Unified School District Nutritional Services.

The free sack lunch program starts Tuesday, May 29, and takes place Monday through Friday through Aug. 8. There is no meal service on the Fourth of July.

“It may very well be the only nutritional meal that a child gets in a day this summer,” Page said.

The federally funded program targets neighborhoods that have a high concentration of families that qualify for free or reduced lunches during the school year.

Nearly 61 percent or 14,474 of Manteca Unified’s 23,753 students qualify for free and reduced meals based on household income.

The sack lunch will include a sandwich, fruit, vegetable, snack and milk. The limit is one lunch per child per day.

“Manteca Unified is concerned about students and their nutrition year round,” Page said.

Page noted that making sure students have good nutrition over the summer will help them keep up with studies when school resumes in August.

Only school districts that have a lunch program that is meeting federal standards and not operating in a deficit are being allowed to participate.

Page said no child will be turned away although she said they may run out of lunches the first day depending upon the response.

“If that happens we will make sure we have more at that site the next day,” Page said. “If demand is high a child may miss a lunch for one day but we will adjust it after that.”

Initially, each site will have 150 sack lunches. Page anticipates the number per site averaging 200 as the program picks up.

“Again, no questions asked,” Page said. “Every child will get a lunch regardless.”

The lunches will be distributed from a clearly marked Manteca Unified van with the lime green nutritional services logo.

The Manteca locations are:

• Northgate Park, 1750 Hoyt Lane, 11 to 11:30 a.m.

• Mayors’ Park, 1440 Kelley Drive, 11 to 11:30 a.m.

• Shasta Park, 955 Edison St., 11:45 .m. to 12:15 p.m.

• Southside Park, 409 Oregon St., 11:45 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.

• Springport Park, 746 Pestana Ave.,12:30 to 1 p.m.

• Lincoln Park, 245 S. Powers Ave., 12:30 to 1 p.m.

The Lathrop locations are:

• Lathrop Community Center, 15557 Fifth St., noon to 12:30 p.m.

• Apolinar Sangalang Park, 13470 Slate St.,11:15 to 11:45 a.m.

The French Camp location is:

• Good Shepherd Church, 305 E. French Camp Road, 11 to 11:30 a.m.

The Weston Ranch locations are:

• Paul E. Weston Park, 3602 EWS Woods Blvd., 11 to 11:30 a.m.

• Long Park, 4535 Woodchase Lane, 11:45 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.

• Smith Park, 2606 William Moss Blvd., 12:30 to 1 p.m.

There will also be a free lunch served at the Manteca Boys & Girls Club, 545 W. Alameda St.

Breakfast will also be served at the Lathrop Community Center from 8:30 to 9 a.m.

If you have any questions, contact Nutrition Services at 858-0769.