A coordinated effort between Food for People, the Humboldt County Office of Education and local school districts will see the Children’s Summer Lunch program continue this year.
Food for People Executive Director Anne Holcomb said a number of factors led to changes in the nonprofit’s role in the program that provides lunches to children from low-income households on weekdays during the summer. Instead of running all of the sites — as Food for People has done for the past 23 years — some parts of the county will now be covered by individual school districts.
For example, Eureka City Schools will not only be covering its district, but distributing lunches in Fortuna, Rio Dell and Loleta while the Arcata School District covers that city.
Food for People, meanwhile, will concentrate on reaching children in the county’s outlying areas, such as Willow Creek, Hoopa and Southern Humboldt.
“The ultimate goal in this, which kept me up at night, was how do we feed kids this summer,” Holcomb said.
Food for People has faced a number of challenges in recent months, including a sewage backup at its main building in March
that caused more than a $100,000 in structural damage and food loss just as the COVID-19 pandemic was creating a surge in the need for its services.
Coupled with social distancing restrictions that limit the number of volunteers who could come together to make the lunches and uncertainty about whether the USDA would continue to waive the rule that each child must be present to accept the lunch and instead allow parents to do the pickup to reduce gatherings at distribution sites, Holcomb said the decision was made to look for creative ways of making the lunch program work.
“This year required some new partners to make that happen,” Holcomb said.
The Arcata School District has announced its sites, which will run Monday through Friday June 15 to Aug. 24, with breakfast and lunch served in one bag. The main serving site will be Arcata Elementary (noon-1 p.m.), augmented by the following mobile sites: 2575 Alliance Road (11 a.m.-11:20 a.m.), Arcata Elementary (11:30-11:50 a.m.), Rotary Park (noon-12:10 p.m.), Greenview Park (12:25-12:35 p.m.), Manila Market (12:45-1:05 p.m.), and Phillips Court in Manila (1:10-1:15 p.m.). The schedule is subject to change – call (707) 839-5219 with any questions.
Meanwhile, details are still being worked out on where, when and how the lunches will be distributed in several other areas. More details on the ECS sites are expected to be announced this week.
The Arcata School District is offering its first Summer Meals Program starting June 15 and continuing through Aug. 24.
A press release announcing the endeavor states, "Although the District is facing sharp budget cuts due to COVID-19, reducing the threat of malnutrition is a top priority. The District invites all children to participate in the summer service, especially those who do not have consistent access to healthy food outside of school."
Meals consist of breakfast and lunch served in one bag and are available Monday-Friday at Arcata Elementary School and Sunny Brae Middle School as well as five community sites. The program is funded in part by a donation from Coast Central Credit Union.
For more information about the Summer Meals Program, including distribution sites and times, read the full press release here:
The Arcata School District is pleased to announce its first Summer Meals Program, running from June 15-August 24 at Arcata Elementary School, Sunny Brae Middle School, and five community sites. All children 18 and under are welcome to these free meals, and people 21 and under who are disabled may also participate.
The District recognizes that nutrition plays a vital role in the healthy development and successful education of children. A lack of nourishing diet options can lead to stunted mental and physical development, and can affect a child’s emotional responses, reactions to stress, and personal-social skills. With the cancellation of Food for People’s annual Summer Food Program, the District stepped up from being a serving site to developing its own summer meal service. Although the District is facing sharp budget cuts due to COVID- 19, reducing the threat of malnutrition is a top priority. The District invites all children to participate in the summer service, especially those who do not have consistent access to healthy food outside of school.
Meals will be offered Monday-Friday, with breakfast and lunch served in one bag. The main serving site will be Arcata Elementary (12:00-1:00), augmented by the following mobile sites: 2575 Alliance Road (11:00-11:20), Arcata Elementary (11:30-11:50), Rotary Park (12:00-12:10), Greenview Park (12:25-12:35), Manila Market (12:45-1:05), and Phillips Court in Manila (1:10-1:15). The schedule is subject to change – call (707) 839-5219 with any questions.
The District’s Summer Meals Program is funded in part by a generous donation from the Coast Central Credit Union. Anyone interested in making a monetary donation to the Program can contact Food Service Director Carson Brady at (707) 839-5219 or firstname.lastname@example.org. All contributions are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.
For more information about the Arcata School District, visit arcataschooldistrict.org.