Free summer lunch programs for students in need

Free summer lunch programs

SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) -The last day of school is in one week in Sarasota County and in two weeks in Manatee County. For some students, meals are hard to come by.

But, both districts are making sure students don't go hungry this summer.

In Sarasota County about 50% of students qualify for free and reduced lunch programs and in Manatee County about 70% of students do.

This summer, Manatee County students who need food will be offered a hot lunch Monday through Friday through the Food Bank of Manatee in one of their summer break spot buses.

Then, on Fridays, kids will receive a bag to take home. That bag will have six meals to eat over the weekend. Last year, the Food Bank of Manatee handed out 18,000 weekend bags and this year they're hoping to hand out 20,000.

"It's incredible to see the number of children that are just food insecure. And this is just such an important program for the children in the summer," said Maribeth Phillips, who is the President & CEO Meals on Wheels Plus of Manatee.

The Food Bank of Manatee is looking for volunteers to help fill weekend bags as well as food donations. More information about volunteering and the summer program can be found here.

In Sarasota County, the school district is working with All Faiths Food Bank and the USDA to provide meals to students.

Breakfast and lunch is served throughout the week at different locations for kids under 18. Students participating in the summer learning programs also will receive breakfast, lunch, and food to take home for the weekend.

Summer food will be available in Sarasota County from June 3rd to August 2nd. A list of locations of where you can find the free meals can be found here.

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