I read about this last week, got busy, and forgot to share this!
The state of California is joining cities like Chicago and Boston in offering free school lunches and breakfasts to students. Previously students families had to meet certain income requirements to qualify for discounted or free school meals.
I’m so glad that this is now available to everyone. There are a lot of people who didn’t qualify but are facing food insecurity.
For more information, The NPR acrticle here has some deets. Be on the look out for information coming from your school district in your email or as a flyer in your kids backpack the few day of school.
Did you know that September is Hunger Action Month?
Recently I wrote about Porchlight Community Services. This month, they are offering a $5.00 discount on their weekly food share when you mention that you saw this article on my website!
The prices are very reasonable:
Seniors / Individual- $15
Family (Small)- $25
On average, you will go home with over $100 worth of food each week. And if you have food allergies or a special diet, just let them know and they will be happy to accommodate you as best they can!
In case you were curious, here is a sneak peek of just a few of the types of items they frequently have:
Cow’s milk, non-dairy milk, eggs, cheese, yogurt, lunch meats, juice, lemonade- WOW! And that is just a small sample, there are fruits, veggies, frozen food, shelf-stable/pantry items, baked goods… You Name It!
For those of you who have read my blog for a while, you know that food insecurity is a cause near and dear to my heart.
In San Diego County, one in seven families experience food insecurity. Food insecurity means you’re not sure where your next healthy, nutritious meal is coming from. It means you probably don’t have extra cans in your cupboard, or that you need to be more than just a little creative when it comes to cooking that a few days before payday.
Food insecurity is an issue that I feel very strongly about. No one should be hungry, and no one should have to eat mass-produced, poorly made, food devoid of nutritional just to fill their belly. Quality, nutritious food should be available to anyone and everyone at an affordable price.
Porchlight Community Services is different from a lot of other food organizations in that they are a food rescue organization. They work with produce distributors, grocery stores, and bakery to rescue food that is otherwise destined for the dumpster.
Next time you’re at the grocery store take a look at all the fruit, all the produce, all the baked goods. The likelihood of all of those items will sell before their pull date is slim.
So when items are pulled off the shelf prior to their expiration date, they are frequently thrown in the trash. That trash heads to the landfill. Grocery store, bakeries, food distributors do not compost their unwanted food. Food rescue agencies like Porchlight Community Services pick up the food (that is still good, by the way, pull dates are usually arbitrary, and only affect the appearance of the food, not it’s quality or viability). They then take the food back to their offices where it is gone over to make sure that it is still quality, and edible. And it is been distributed to families who support Porchlight Community Servicesmission.
Produce that can not be distributed (it’s leftover at the end of the event), is often donated to neighbors with animals, or local animal organizations. Once again, eliminating food waste and helping others,
Porchlight Community Services is not your average food bank or pull date co-op. There is no minimum or maximum amount of money your family needs to make to participate. Some people who shop at Porchlight do so because they believe in the mission of keeping food out of landfills (like my family- it hurts my heart to see perfectly good food go to waste). Some people go to Porchlight Community Services because they are in need of wholesome nutritious groceries that fit a specialized diet (like Gluten-free or Dairy-free) but can’t afford to shell out money every week or two for the costly groceries at a mainstream grocery store. Some people are in a tight spot and need to stretch what little money they have until payday.
All funds that are raised go towards paying rent and utilities- to keep the Mission of feeding others going.
If you are interested in helping Porchlight Community Services, they are always looking for volunteers to help unload food as it comes in on distribution days, organize and stock shelves, refrigerators, and freezers.
They also need help volunteering with event prep- setting up tables and bins.
This might be a good opportunity for girl scout troops or other civic organizations! Contact Porchlight Community Serviceshere to find out about more volunteer opportunities.
School is out (for most of us, the rest will be getting out next week), and that means there are some parents (and kids) who usually rely on free or subsidized school lunches may find themselves wondering what to do.
Thankfully, a lot of great organizations have stepped up and partnered with local area school, rec centers, and civic organizations to provide free breakfasts, lunches, and snacks for al kids 18 and under this summer. For those of us in East County, here is a list of locations!
Those of us in the greater San Diego Area, there are a lot of great options all over town!
There is a kick off BBQ at Skyline Hills Park 6/21/17 10:30am-2:00pm! Parents eat free at this BBQ and there are all kinds of activities!
Lindo Lake in Lakeside is hosting a summer BBQ that’s free for kids, and only $4.00 for parents on August 15th! The best part is that each family leaves with 6 lbs. of fresh produce thanks to Feeding America! If the two lists above aren’t in your area, you can also turn to the USDA Find Summer Meals map here.
All of these programs are free and there is no proof of need and you do not have to sign up in advance. Just show up and hte kids get a tasty meal!
What I love about this program is that there are tons of rec centers hosting these lunches and they are usually adjacent to a playground, which means after a long morning of playing, the kids don’t have long to wait to get a yummy lunch!
Looking for a few ideas of summer fun with a nearby lunch?
There is a lunch location down at the Waterfront Park- which is also free! It has a great playground and a splash area.