Serving Up More Than Food This Summer



During summer vacation, many kids who rely upon free or reduced price school meals don’t have enough to eat. Sites in low-income areas across San Diego County offer free meals for children at risk of going hungry, but many are hard to access or parents aren’t aware of them. To bring more meals to kids at risk of hunger, many San Diego summer meal sites are combining nutrition with fun, educational and family-friendly activities – everything from magic shows to computer programming classes.

Our Summer Meals Task Force has found that pairing meal sites with existing kid-friendly, educational programs is an incredibly cost effective strategy for increasing awareness and participation. It also helps to remove stigma from the experience, giving kids in low-income areas the chance to enjoy carefree summer learning activities along with their peers. 

The summer meal site at the Casa De Oro library is a shining example of the potential for summer meal sites. Here are just a few of the activities the library provides alongside its summer meal program.

  • Magic shows
  • Board games
  • Summer reading contests
  • Birdhouse painting classes for parents to enjoy while their kids eat and play
  • Video games
  • Dodge ball
  • Special socializing programs for teens
  • Pajama Day
  • Story time for toddlers and preschoolers
  • Different educational activities for each day of the week including
  • Learning about geography and foreign cultures through coloring
  • Computer and coding classes
  • Handwriting and cursive lessons
  • Arts and crafts
  • Lego building

These integrations in a summer meal program not only ensure that kids get enough to eat by removing stigma and increasing awareness and participation, they also build stronger communities, enriched family life and a love of learning amongst children.

Interested in finding a summer meal site? Here are the basics: 

  • All kids 18 years old and younger are eligible for free meals.
  • There is no paperwork required, enrollment, sign up or cost needed to participate.
  • Parents can find the site nearest them in two easy ways:
  1. Send a text message. Text FOOD to 877-877.
  2. Call 2-1-1 San Diego for details. Dial 2-1-1.
  3. Click here to enter your zip code