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MUSD offers service at 28 sites
A youngster grabs a milk during the free summer lunch program at Library Park last year. - photo by Bulletin file

Making sure that students have at least one nutritional meal week days during summer break has proven an effective way to make sure hunger doesn’t undo academic gains.
It is why Manteca Unified is offering free Nutrition Education Summer Meals for children ages 2 to 18 at 27 locations in Manteca, seven locations in Lathrop, and four locations in Weston Ranch.
“During the school year children are getting at least one nutritional meal a day (through school programs),” noted Deputy Superintendent Clark Burke.  “With this program children will have at least one meal that’s nutritious on week days during the summer.”
The program starts Wednesday, May 30. It will run Monday through Friday until Aug. 3. There is no meal service on July 4 or weekends
There are no eligibility requirements or identification needed. The only restriction is food must be consumed at the lunch site.
The June meal menu includes:
uMondays — Turkey bologna and cheese sandwich, olives, bean salad, and baked chips.
uTuesdays — Make your own pizza, olives and ranch tossed veggie salad.
uWednesdays — Peanut butter and jelly uncrustable sandwich, carrots and olives (Soy butter and jelly sandwich is served instead at Union West Park and Weston Ranch library)
uThursdays — Turkey and cheese sandwich, olives, fancy corn salad, and baked chips.
uFridays — Hummus or cheese cup with string cheese or sunflower seeds, tortilla chips, olives, carrots.
Offered daily are fresh fruit as well as various milk options.
There will be BBQ events at various park sites during the next two months. The BBQ includes a 45-minute event that will feature organized activities, readings,  games, and community. Options at the BBQ event includes a beef hamburger of a vegetarian teriyaki burger, baked chips, olives, carrots, fresh fruit and with 1 percent milk or fat free chocolate milk 
All meals are delivered by district personnel driving distinctive school district vehicles with Manteca USD-Nutrition Education logo green lettering and an orange carrot on the side.
More than 40 employees help prepare and deliver the meals.
Last summer 88.483 meals were served. All meals include locally grown fresh fruit as well as meet strict United States Department of Agriculture nutritional regulations.
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.
Currently 64.59 percent of the district’s 24,500 students qualified for free or reduced meals. That means almost 7 out of 10 children in the community may experience food insecurity.
Much of the financial stress within 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.
Manteca locations for the summer lunch program are as follows:
*11 to 11:20 a.m. —Springtime Park on Springtime Avenue, Tesoro Park on Tesoro Drive, Roberts Estates Park on Rail Street, Cotta Park on Mission Ridge Drive,  Greystone Park on Agate Avenue, Sequoia Park on Wawona Street, Shasta Park on Edison Street, Raymus Park on Apache Drive, Woodward Park on Woodward Avenue  
*11:30 to 11:50 a.m. —Colony Park on Trailwood Avenue, Northgate Park on Hoyt Lane,  Baccileri Park on Stockton Street, Diamond Oaks Park on Pestana Avenue, Franciscan Park on Elm Avenue, Lincoln Park on Powers Avenue,  Mayors Park on Kelley Drive, Quail Ridge Park on Mission Ridge Drive, Morenzone Ballfield on Center Street,
*Noon to 12:20 p.m. — Giles Memorial Park next to the Boys & Girls Club on Alameda Street, Chadwick Square Park on London Avenue, Doxey Park on Northgate Drive, Manteca High swimming pool, Library Park on Center Street, Villa Ticino Park on Geneva Way, Primavera Park on Primavera Avenue, Sandpiper Village on Pennebaker Avenue, Union West Park on Parkview Street
Lathrop locations are:
*11 to 11:20 a.m. — Park West Park on Shelter Cove Circle, Sangalang Park on Slate Street, Libby Park on Libby Lane
*11:30 to 11:50 a.m. — Mossdale Landing Park on Towne Center Drive, Woodfield park on Lathrop Road,
*Noon to 12:20 p.m. —  Generations Park across from Lathrop High, Valverde Park on Fifth Street
Weston Ranch locations are:
*11 to 11:20 a.m. — Smith Park on Moss Boulevard
*11:30 to 11:50 a.m. — Paul E. Weston Park on EWS Woods Boulevard, Long Park on Woodchase Lane
*Noon to 12:20 p.m. — Weston Ranch Library on French Camp Road,  
If you have questions contact Nutrition Education at 858.0778.

To contact Dennis Wyatt, email