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MUSD serving free lunches this summer
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Youngsters at the Valverde Park site pick up a piece of fresh fruit and a salad as part of their nutritious lunch. - photo by VINCE REMBULAT

Shortly before 11 a.m. on Tuesday, the Manteca Unified Nutrition Education Department van pulled up alongside the Lathrop Community Center at Valverde Park.

Moments later, youngsters – most are in Camp Lathrop, a summer program sponsored by the Lathrop Parks and Recreation Department, while others are neighboring kids – were quick to form a line for their free Summer Sack Lunch.

Like clockwork, they picked up a choice of a fresh fruit and / or vegetable coupled with a build-your-own-pizza, which happens to be the entrée of the day, a small bag of bite-sized wheat crackers, and a choice of chocolate or regular milk.

One young girl even marveled at the fresh fruit. “Look, a small peach,” she said.

On this day, Sharon Bright of MUSD Nutrition Education estimates serving up to 50 at this site located at 15557 Fifth St.

“Even though school is out, (students) can still continue to get a nutritional meal,” said Bright, who has been with MUSD for the past 17 years. “They’ll get the same nutrition as in regular school.”

She’s currently the Main Kitchen Operator at August Knodt Elementary School in Weston Ranch.

Since the end of May, Bright and others from Nutrition Education have spent their summer delivering lunches to various sites along Manteca, Lathrop and the south Stockton community of Weston Ranch. They’ll continue to do so through Aug. 3.

“Each meal has five components,” Bright said.

The free Summer Sack Lunch program is available to children age 2 to 18 – no registration or ID required.

Those involved are asked to take a vegetable or a piece of fresh fruit. Peaches and apricots, in this case, are in currently in season.

The lunch also includes a salad – Bright indicated that Caesar salad is always a popular choice, with corn and bean salad also in the mix – and maybe a turkey & cheese sandwich or even a peanut butter and jelly Crustable by Smucker’s.

Whether it’s a handful or 100, the MUSD van stops at the designated areas as scheduled to service the youngsters.

No meals will be served on the Fourth of July or weekends.

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.