School's almost out for Summer break here in Owatonna, and there are schools around us that have already dismissed classes and had their graduation ceremonies. It is a very exciting time, the kiddos are excited to be done with their schooling for the year, and start in on their summer plans. Parents plan camps, vacations, and add to their grocery lists, feeding those kiddos can be expensive.

It can also be a very stressful time for parents, and their children, if they are living paycheck to paycheck as it is. Add in additional daycare costs, and meals for those who no longer need daycare, Summer break can be a cause for worry for many.

It is unfortunate that we have anybody in our area suffering from food insecurities, and that the only balanced meal that many can get is the lunch at school. So, what happens when school is out for summer? There are several districts in the area that are offering a free lunch program, some even offer breakfast, to anyone age 1-18, no income guidelines apply. What's great about these programs, is, they will serve anyone, and there is a nominal charge for an adult meal.

Some of the area schools offering a free lunch program over the summer include:

  • The Owatonna School District will start their program on June 10th, and you can see the details here or on the District's website.
  • The Faribault School District will start their program during the week of June 10th, depending on the school building you go to. All 3 locations will also serve breakfast.
  • The Waseca School District will start their program on June 10th at all locations and also serve breakfast at all locations.
  • The Albert Lea School District will start their program on June 3rd, and serve breakfast at both locations.
  • The Rochester School District will start their program on Jun 10th, they will offer breakfast and offer many mobile sites as well.

I found a really cool site to check out, from the USDA, you can put in your zip code and see how many different cities offer a free meal program for the summer, especially for the children.

All of the different programs are not planning to serve on July 4th, but, you can get a lunch most days, and in a lot of cases, breakfast, for free for those under 18. If you live in in a district where this is not offered, chances are, you might live close to another district, and will be able to take advantage of these programs. I can totally get behind this idea, let's make meals available for those who need it.