By STEPHEN FLANAGAN JACKSON
Experiencing the joy of reading while developing literacy skills and having a free breakfast and free lunch at the same time is a package that’s hard to beat.
School is out for the summer, but Hillsborough County Public Schools are offering free breakfast and free lunch on Monday through Thursday until Aug. 2 to any person 18 years and younger, regardless of whether the child is enrolled in summer school. Walk-ins are welcome, but you do need to sign up at the school office to participate. To locate a site providing the free meals text FOODFL to 877-877 or go to SummerBreakSpot.org.
This summer the Hillsborough School District is also teaming up with MyOn for Literacy, a national digital program, which promotes reading, at the summer meal sites. According to the school district, MyON for Literacy provides children the opportunity to register for the free online book library to encourage reading throughout the summer.
During the regular school year, August through May, Hillsborough County Public Schools enroll approximately 220,000 students. For the recently-concluded school year, 63% of those students qualified for free and reduced-price meals. Last summer, the HCSD Nutrition Services served more than 500,000 meals. The HCSD Nutrition Services is once again participating in the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) Summer Food Service Program. Free meals are provided during the regular school year and during the summer.
In addition to the extended school year program, which offers students and non-students breakfast and lunch at no cost at schools that provide summer school classes, two other free meals programs are now in service.
For the eighth year now, the HCSD is delivering food into the migrant communities through its Movin’ Meals food buses. Five retired and renovated district school buses are delivering meals into various neighborhoods, offering breakfast and lunch. Students can eat on the air-conditioned buses.
Also, the HCSD is renting six refrigerated trucks to deliver box meals to community sites with summer programs. These sites include YMCA programs, Hillsborough Community College summer camps for kids, and all parks and recreation sites, sponsored by the Board of County Commissioners. These sites include Apollo Beach Park at 664 Golf and Sea Blvd.; Gardenville Recreation at 6219 Symmes Rd., Gibsonton; Ruskin Rec Center, 901 6th St. SE; Riverview Boys-Girls Club, 6809 Krycul Ave., Riverview; Wimamua Boys-Girls Club, 5705 Hillsborough St., Wimauma.
Summer feeding sites at schools include: Apollo Beach Elementary, Collins Elementary, Cypress Creek Elementary, East Bay High, Gibsonton Elementary, Symmes Elementary, Lennard High, Shields Middle, Spoto High, Reddick Elementary (Wimauma) and Wimauma Elementary.
Movin’ Meals bus sites include Camp Cristina at 9480 Balm-Riverview Rd.; Family Y at Big Bend Rd.; Firehouse Cultural Center at 101 1st Ave, NE (Ruskin); Grove Point Apts. at 129 Laguna Oaks Pl. (Ruskin).