Healthy summertime free meal program begins in Santa Barbara County

Nutrition does not take a break when school's out

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - A free summer meal program has begun for any child 18 or younger.  The goal is to make sure they have nutritional food even when school is not in session.

The program is an extension of the meals they receive during the school year.

The summer program kicked off today at Franklin Elementary school with the district's mobile cafe arriving after a morning of recreation.

The picnic style lunch included barbecued chicken, salad, a roll, cantaloupe and either water or milk. 

The lunch is available at 40 locations.  

Anyone over 18 can eat too, for $4.00 a plate.

More information on the program and sites can be found in this news release:

Santa Barbara, CA: The 5th annual Summer Meal Concert Series kicks off on Thursday, June 15th at free summer meal sites throughout the county. Youth musicians will perform at three concerts this summer adding even more fun and community spirit to these popular and much needed summer meal programs.  At Franklin School at 11:30am on Thursday, musician Jade Hendrix will perform while the kids eat delicious and healthy meals.


Summer should be a time of carefree fun but it is also when hunger is the most challenging for the over 20,000 food insecure kids in our county. Partners throughout the county, including the Santa Barbara Unified School District, City of Santa Barbara, Foodbank of SB County and CAC, are working together to increase participation in the 40 places where children can drop in to enjoy a meal, no paperwork or enrollment required.


Actor and musician Jeff Bridges, who lives in Santa Barbara and serves as the national spokesperson for national anti-hunger campaign No Kid Hungry, led the development of the summer concert series as a part of a coalition effort beginning in 2013. Since then, participation in summer meals programming in Santa Barbara has increased more than 30 percent. But the majority of children who rely on free and reduced meals during the school year are still going without them in the summer.   


“Summer is the hardest time for kids in need, when school is out, and they lose access to programs like school breakfast and lunch," said Bridges. “Community organizations have joined forces to make sure the children of Santa Barbara County have the nutritious food they need this summer. These great young musicians are doing their part to help all kids have a healthy, happy summer.”


To make it easier to find out where summer meals are served, families throughout the county can text SUMMERFOOD to 877-877 to find a summer meals site in their neighborhood. The next music event is June 21st in Santa Maria and musical acts The Same Difference, Brandi Rose Lentini and Jamey Geston will join the line-up at various other meal sites in Santa Barbara over the remainder of the summer. Follow the Food4Kids Facebook page for upcoming details about performance times and locations.



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