After the School Bell: Access to Fresh and Healthy Food

As students are making plans for the summer, thousands of First Coast families are making plans on where to secure their next meal.

Across Florida, nearly 1.6 million children will participate in the Summer BreakSpot, the official summer feeding program operated by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. The process to identify summer feeding program locations begins when the Department of Children and Families maps out where families with children under the age of 18 receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits live. In the program’s first four years in Florida, it has grown by 22 percent to meet the growing needs of the community, according to Robin Safely, director, Division of Food, Nutrition and Wellness at Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

In North Florida, the Jacksonville Children’s Commission is the largest sponsor of the Summer BreakSpot. Children do not need to be enrolled in camps or activities at the program sites to receive a meal; they just need to show up during mealtime.  This summer, the Jacksonville Children’s Commission will serve more than 12,000 nutritious snacks and meals each day at more than 200 sites, including apartment complexes, churches, early learning centers, non-public schools, public libraries, city parks, swimming pools, one hospital and multiple summer camps. A ‘Free Lunch Served Here’ banner is posted at each site with the meal times indicated.

The summer food sites will operate Monday through Friday, beginning on June 8th and ending on August 7th. Click here to find a site near you.

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