State: New free children's programming

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Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam announced today the kickoff of the 2013 Summer BreakSpot program, which offers free nutritious meals, recreational fun and educational activities for eligible children under 18 at more than 3,400 locations across the state this summer.

“More than 1.6 million Florida children rely on school lunch throughout the school year, but our responsibility to make sure that kids get healthy meals doesn’t end when school gets out for the summer,” Commissioner Putnam said. “This program gives kids a place to go, have fun with friends and get something good and wholesome to eat all summer long.”

Last year, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services teamed up with professional sports teams to raise awareness about Summer BreakSpot. The program provided more than 10 million meals to more than 230,000 children throughout the summer. This summer, the department is building on recent success and again partnering with the Tampa Bay Rays and the Miami Heat to reach kids with messages about the importance of eating healthy and information about where to find Summer BreakSpot sites in their communities.

The department is also continuing its partnership with 2-1-1, the national program that connects people with important community services and volunteer opportunities, to provide information about Summer BreakSpot and direct parents and children to a local BreakSpot for meals and other activities.

Summer BreakSpot is part of the national Summer Food Service Program, a federally funded program operated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and administered in Florida by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Eligible sponsors, including nonprofit organizations, schools and local governments, serve nutritious meals and snacks free to low-income children under the age of 18 during the summer months.

Summer programs are located at approved sites that are either in low-income areas or serve children from low-income households. To learn more about the program or find locations in your county, call 2-1-1 or visit www.summerfoodflorida.org.