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Summer Lunch Programs Could Serve More Children


California could be serving more of its low-income children during summer vacation, according to a new report.

Roughly 20 percent of students who qualify for free or reduced school lunch took advantage of summer nutrition programs last year, according to an analysis by the Food Research and Action Center. 

Crystal Fitzsimons, who oversees the organization's work on child nutrition programs, said while 8,000 fewer students received meals at designated schools, about 10,000 more students received a free lunch through community-based organizations.

The report also found that California could receive an additional $40.7 million in federal funding if it served an additional 515,622 children during the month of July.

Hannah Zanetta's children receive free lunch at Starr King school in Carmichael. The food is provided through San Juan School District's Summer Fun Café. 

She says the program offers her children healthy food.

"Not as many fruits and veggies, of course, get offered at home. I think it just gives a bigger variety of different fruit and veggies for the kids," Zanetta says.

The café has five locations throughout the district. Last year, it served more than 31,000 meals.

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