Program will serve 63 sites this year

McAllen ISD’s annual Summer Feeding Program will serve free, nutritious meals at participating feeding sites to children 18 years of age and under this summer.

Meals will be provided at 63 sites, many of them twice per day. The school district is teaming with the City of McAllen to announce this project.

“Summer is a critical time for those children in our community vulnerable to food insecurity, that is, they are uncertain where there next meal may come from,” City of McAllen Mayor Jim Darling said. “For many children in our community, the school year is a time when they receive two healthy meals a day and families only have to provide evening and weekend meals. Summer creates a difficult challenge for those families struggling to provide hot, nutritious and healthy meals for their children.”

The program will begin on Tuesday, May 30. Meals will be prepared in the district’s modern central kitchen. These meals are fresh and served while hot. Each site will serve meals twice per day but children have the opportunity for up to four meals per day by visiting sites throughout the city. This includes breakfast, lunch, a snack and dinner.

The list of sites includes 15 bus routes that take meals into neighborhoods. It’s called Meals on Wheels. These are school buses packed with tasty, nutritious food that visit neighborhoods. This will be the third year the district has included Meals on Wheels as part of the Summer Feeding Program.

The Meals on Wheels aspect of the program has proven so successful, it has earned national attention. Ms. Molina presented on this subject to the School Nutrition Association in Boston. The association also recognized McAllen ISD for innovations in fighting hunger.

This year, the district has added something new. As an incentive for participation, there will be weekly and monthly raffle drawings for prizes for children with 100 percent participation in the program. Children will be given punch cards to track their participation. The district has formed partnerships with civic and local business organizations to launch this incentive program.

The federal government funds the program through the Texas Department of Agriculture. The school district is reimbursed for the meals it serves. The district served more than 200,661 meals in summer 2016.

No documents or proof of income are required. Children can simply show up to any one of the locations throughout the city of McAllen, including schools, City of McAllen facilities, splash pads and parks, and even, places of worship, and a hot meal will be provided.

To find summer feeding locations, go to the McAllen ISD website (mcallenisd.org) or City of McAllen website (mcallen.net). You can also dial a state hotline number (2-1-1) to get locations near you. Or, send a text. Type the word “Foodtx” and send to 877-877. For more information on the program, contact the McAllen ISD Food Nutrition Program at (956) 632-3226.