MCPS distributes free summer meals


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A student eats a meal provided to him during the summer time.

By Vicky Gunawan, Observations Editor

Starting Jun. 18, 2019 free meals will be distributed during the summer at approximately 120 sites throughout Montgomery County.

The county will provide meals to  students attending summer school or recreation programs as part of a new program called the Montgomery County Summer Food Program. This program guarantees that children in low income areas will continue to receive nutritious meals during the summer break instead of just during the school year.

“I think that this program a great way to try to eradicate child hunger in MCPS,” senior Christina Zhu said. “No child should have to worry about meals during the summer time and should only worry about having fun.”

Children 18 years of age and younger are eligible to receive these meals, as well as students with physical and mental disabilities up to the age of 21.

“Hopefully in the future, free meals can be provided year round, and not just during the summer time,” senior Megan Park said.

In addition to serving meals during summer school and recreational programs, the county is providing daily lunches to students 18 and younger on a walk-in basis. There will be several locations for these walk-in meals throughout the county.

According to the Montgomery County Public School (MCPS) website, programs that qualify for these free meals must be located in a school or at a location close to a school where 50 percent of the students enrolled are eligible for free or reduced-price meals. If the school is a middle or high school, the closest elementary school must have the 50 percent free or reduced meal student enrollment.

Currently, MCPS offers reduced meal prices for eligible students. This ensures that every child attending an MCPS school will have the access to meals and will not have to worry about not being able to afford meals at school.

Organizations like No Kid Hungry also contribute to this cause by educating families on food skills and providing meals such as breakfast, summer meals and after school meals. Allowing students to have access to meals, especially during the summer, is crucial as they lose a key source of meals and as a result are forced to find meals elsewhere. MCPS intends to provide meals to as many children as possible by implementing this program.