Grab & Go meals Manteca Unified provided for pickup in front of school sites during distance learning that ended the school year due to the COVID-19 pandemic have seamlessly rolled into the free summer meal program.
The biggest change for the summer meal program is that students won’t be encouraged to gather at one spot and enjoy meals plus take part in periodic organized activities. Also no park locations are being used this year.
The Grab & Go format used from March through May will be employed. The meals are for youth 2 to 18. Children must be present to receive a meal.
The free lunch will be distributed Monday through Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in Manteca at Brock Elliott, George McParland, Golden West, Neil Hafley, Joshua Cowell, Lincoln, Sequoia, Shasta, Stella Brockman and Walter Woodward elementary schools. The Lathrop locations are at Lathrop Elementary and Joseph Widmer elementary schools. August Knodt and Great Valley are the Weston Ranch locations. Free meals will also be served at French Camp School as well as the two migrant families housing complexes in French Camp.
Meal service is June 1 through July 24. There will be no observance July 3 due to the Fourth of July holiday.
Last summer more than 70,000 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.
More than 60 percent of the district’s 25,000 students qualified for free or reduced meals. That means almost 6 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.
That is on top of the nearly 20 percent unemployment caused by stay at home and social distancing solutions imposed to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
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 single parent with a child that makes less than $20,709 qualifies for free meals while those making between $20,710
If you have questions contact Nutrition Education at 858.0778.
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