Waco summer meal programs aimed at feeding children are returning to pre-pandemic operations a year after COVID-19 protocols forced organizers to improvise curbside and pickup options.
With the return of in-person summer school classes, Waco Independent School District schools will also provide free breakfast and lunches Mondays through Thursdays at most of its campuses through Aug. 18. Midway and La Vega ISDs are among those also offering free meals this summer.
This summer will see a return to children eating together on-site at schools participating in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Summer Food Service Program, although last year’s waivers allowing parents to pick up meals for their children have been extended, said Kayla Mize, Waco regional director for child hunger outreach for the Baylor University Collaborative on Hunger and Poverty.
The Waco ISD kitchens prepare about 5,000 meals daily during the summer, slightly less than half the 12,000 meals served daily during the school year, district food service director Clifford Reece said. Most people receiving the meals are elementary or middle school students and their families, Reece said. But any child, age 1 to 18, is eligible, and no registration is required.
Free breakfast and lunch will be available at specific times on weekdays, and extra meals for weekends will be distributed on Thursdays or Fridays. Every school except Mountainview Elementary School and G.W. Carver Middle School will offer meals.