Program feeds kids free meals

YUMA, Ariz. – School is out for the summer, but students like Arlette Franco are still showing up to the cafeteria.

“Sometimes they serve little snacks like slushies and cinnamon rolls,” Franco said.

Her brother Sebastian replied, “It’s sort of like a change of routine that helps me get out of the house more often.”

She and her brothers walked to C.W. McGraw Elementary Monday to eat lunch, a free lunch that is. Yuma School District One’s Summer Food Service Program is underway.

“And it’s a program that is for kids that are 0 to 18 and also for parents, but kids 0-18 are different. They get to eat for free, both breakfast and lunch,” YSD One Child Nutrition Coordinator Lisa Thrower said.

Thrower said District One served roughly 65,000 meals just last summer. She said she expects the lunch crowd to fill up this cafeteria in the coming weeks, an indication of the community’s need.

“Over 29,000 kids in Yuma County qualify for free and reduced lunches, and these kids are coming from all over.” Thrower said.

Adults are welcome too and pay only 2 bucks for breakfast and 3 for lunch. It is funded by the USDA and aims to ensure children across the country have food readily available, no questions asked.

“They don’t have to fill out any paperwork. They don’t have to register. They don’t have to anything that goes on their income. They just show up and get to enjoy a meal.”

Arlette said her family plans to take advantage of free food for the rest of the summer, especially when one item in particular is one the menu.

“The pizza. It has to be the pizza.”

Breakfast and lunch will be served at 5 District One cafeterias weekdays through July 24th.

Breakfast is between  8:30 a.m. – 9:00 a.m., and lunch is between  11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Below is a list of participating locations.

  • McGraw School 2345 Arizona Ave
  • OC Johnson School 1201 W. 12th St.
  • Otondo School 2251 S. Otondo Dr.
  • Pecan Grove School 600 S. 21st Ave.
  • Main Cafeteria 450 W. 5th St. (Next to 4th Ave Jr. High School)

About The Author

Eduardo Santiago joined the FOX 9 and ABC 5 news team in February, 2012. That’s the same year KECY launched its very first local newscast. He has been covering local news in Yuma and the Imperial Valley since his start as a KYMA photojournalist in 2006. During his decade in broadcasting, Eduardo has covered some of the biggest stories in the Desert Southwest – from President Bush’s visit to Yuma, Ariz. to the uncovering of drug tunnels that span the US-Mexico border. One of the most memorable stories Eduardo covered was the 2010 Easter Earthquake that rocked the Imperial Valley, Mexicali, and Yuma. Eduardo, along with his news team, won an award from the Associated Press for best coverage of an ongoing story following the quake. Before he made his move to TV, Eduardo was just a kid born in East Los Angeles, where he spent his early childhood. His parents moved him to Mexicali, B.C. Mexico, where he did most of his elementary school education. He finally landed in El Centro, where he graduated from Central Union High School in 2005. Eduardo is currently a student at Imperial Valley College. You can find Eduardo hanging out in the Imperial Valley and Yuma with his family on any given weekend. His off-screen passion is playing guitar and sports.

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