Without being able to rely on the cafeteria for lunches during summer vacation, lots of kids miss meals between the end of one school year and the beginning of the next.
“We know there’s a large segment of our community that relies on the lunch program served at school,” spokesperson for Corpus Christi’s Parks and Recreation Department Lisa Oliver said. “They have some options that are available.”
Kids in Corpus Christi have two options for free meals during summer break. The school district serves breakfasts and lunch at more than 30 locations. Click here for a list of locations and dates that meals will be available.
The city also offers free meals at 21 locations as part of the Lunch on Us program. A grant from the Texas Department of Agriculture makes it possible for kids ages 18-years-old and younger to have a free lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and a free afternoon snack between 2:30 and 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday without costing the city a dime.
People who serve those meals say the need is obvious.
“Some of them come in, and they’re just hungry right away,” Amanda Soria, a coach at Lindale Recreation Center said. “I’m very thankful for this program just because I know the kids are always hungry.”
The City of Corpus Christi offers a second program for children that fills other summertime needs. SPARK, which stands for Summer Programs And Recreation for Kids, provides five hours of physical and educational activities at the cities five recreation centers. That gets kids off the couch and frees up time for their parents.
SPARK costs $25 per child per week, and parents should register their kids in the program week by week. There is a $10 one-day option as well.
“It gives some flexibility to the caregiver as well, and that they can register the child a week at a time, so you’re not committed for the whole summer,” Oliver said.
The eight week program runs until the beginning of the school year, and when the first day of classes rolls around, Soria says kids will bring benefits of SPARK to school with them.
“They come in [to SPARK] shy, but once they start playing games and doing activities, they leave with so many friends,” Soria said. “And they leave with so many memories as well.”
You can find more information about SPARK and the Lunch on Us programs by clicking here.