Local Kids Look Forward to Healthy Summer Meals
by Madeleine Hennessy, Communications Coordinator
It’s an early Monday morning at Castle Park Elementary in Chula Vista, and Denise and Evan are ready for another day at school, with their backpacks on and smiles across their faces.
Evan is a vivacious, curious 5th grader with red hair and a charming smile who is looking forward to playing with his friends before school. Denise, his sister, has a shy smile and a passion for learning. She likes some of the after school programs the best.
“We get taught new things, and when we’re taught new things, we get smarter in our class,” said Denise.
Both children take part in the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) offered at the school during summer break. During the summer months, thousands of children lose access to breakfast and lunch programs, a critical source of nutrition.
Feeding San Diego works to meet this specific need through direct-to-client programs and our partner agencies, including serving as a sponsor for SFSP sites at Castle Park Elementary and seven other locations. The program, funded by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and administered by the California Department of Education (CDE), provides free lunches and snacks to children and teens throughout the summer months.
Denise and Evan’s mom, Luz La Croix, is a fulltime student and her husband, Randy, works in the flooring and carpeting business. To make the ends meet, they attend community food distributions and the Summer Food Service Program. She shared, “The food means support, and we’re very grateful for that support.”
A resident of Chula Vista, Luz expresses her concern about lack of healthy options for her and her family. “In this area, it’s very difficult to buy healthy food. The only healthy food is on the other side of the 805. Here, it’s only junk food and fast food.”
Looking forward to summer meals provided through Feeding San Diego, Luz shared she is always excited to see the healthy food served.
And her kids love it too. Denise told us apples were her favorite and Evan quickly jumped in with his love for tangerines and oranges.
Luz and her family face the uncertainty of food insecurity, yet they still find a way to be generous with what they have. They currently share food with a friend who lost a job. “It’s important to help. Too many people don’t have the money and are too humble to ask for help.”
The La Croix family shared their appreciation for the food they receive and said they consider themselves blessed to have access to food for their kids during the summer.
“My children, every time before we eat, we thank God for the food and the people who provide the food.”