Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pinellas summer food programs look to fill gaps in nutrition

Jaiman Edwards, 8, left, Adrieonna Ohlin, 9, middle, and I’aani Irby, also 9, partake of lunch Friday at the YMCA child care program at Campbell Park Elementary School.

JOHN PENDYGRAFT | Times

Jaiman Edwards, 8, left, Adrieonna Ohlin, 9, middle, and I’aani Irby, also 9, partake of lunch Friday at the YMCA child care program at Campbell Park Elementary School.

Two government-sponsored summer food programs are ramping up their efforts to bridge the nutritional gap for Pinellas County students after the school year ends.

Summer Break Spot provides students 18 and younger with two meals a day Monday through Thursday. The program is part of a larger effort by the U.S. and Florida agriculture departments to help families who rely on free and reduced-priced school lunches most of the year.

In an expanded program this year, Summer Break Spot began distributing meals at nearly 140 schools, churches, community centers and nonprofit organizations the Monday after school let out in June. Last year there was a weeklong gap between the last day of school and when Summer Break Spot began, leaving some students in the lurch.

"We wanted to close that this year," said Lynn Geis, assistant director.

Students can have either breakfast and lunch or breakfast and a snack. The program distributes 6,000 to 8,000 lunches a day, Geis said.

Students not enrolled in the program also can receive free meals at the sites as long as they are 18 or younger.

To help keep children safe and close to home, food trucks will be introduced at five apartment complexes throughout Pinellas this summer.

In addition, to help families get through the weekends, any student who receives a free or reduced-price meal during the school year can receive prepackaged meals from a pilot program funded by the Juvenile Welfare Board and the Public Defender's Office. That effort, which started Friday, distributes meals at nine elementary schools — Campbell Park, Fairmount Park, Lakewood, Melrose, New Heights, High Point, Belleair, Sandy Lane and Tarpon Springs.

"We know that (students) have some significant food needs, and those needs don't stop when class stops on Friday," said Matthew Spence, special product and content manager of the JWB. "They continue through the weekend."

Partnering with Organization Nourish to Flourish, the JWB distributes meals with a fruit and a vegetable, a main course and milk or juice. Each student receives two meals, both of which can stay fresh for a longer time if not immediately eaten. The JWB estimates it will provide nearly 35,000 weekend meals this summer.

"As long as it's nutritious, it's good," said Carey Barber of St. Petersburg, who was picking up his niece Friday from a summer program at Campbell Park Elementary. The girl receives weekend meals from the JWB program.

To get information on either program or to find a meal location, visit jwbpinellas.org or summerfoodflorida.org.

Malena Carollo can be reached at mcarollo@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8510.

Pinellas summer food programs look to fill gaps in nutrition 06/21/14 [Last modified: Saturday, June 21, 2014 8:08pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. New center opens in Tampa to help those with missing, damaged limbs

    Veterans

    TAMPA — Justin Lansford, his service dog Gabe by his side, smiled broadly Thursday as he imagined the future of a sprawling, resource center for people who need artificial limbs and those interested in helping them.

    Justin Lansford, 27, lost his left leg above the knee in Afghanistan. He was one of dozens of people attending the opening of the Veterans International Institute of Orthotics & Prosthetics in Tampa on Thursday. [HOWARD ALTMAN   |   Staff]
  2. Still worried about family, Tampa Bay Puerto Ricans ramp up relief effort

    Hurricanes

    TAMPA — Brenda Irizarry is worried.

    Brenda Irizarry of Tampa, while agonizing over the status of family in storm-ravaged Puerto Rico, is helping lead an effort to collect and send supplies to the island. [ALESSANDRA DA PRA  |   Times
]
  3. Was it a crime? 10 patients at nursing home died after Irma

    News

    HOLLYWOOD, Fla. (AP) — A 10th elderly patient has died after being kept inside a nursing home that turned into a sweatbox when Hurricane Irma knocked out its air conditioning for three days, even though just across the street was a fully functioning and cooled hospital.

    The Rehabilitation Center of Hollywood Hills, 1200 N. 35th Ave. [EMILHY MICHOT | Miami Herald]
  4. Oh, Florida! Irma's gone, but she left behind plenty of lessons for us

    Columns

    I don't want to make light of the misery and death that Hurricane Irma inflicted on Florida this month. A lot of it was ugly, and some of it was downright criminal. We saw greed and pettiness on display, and it brought illness and death.

    Tampa Bay Times staff writer Craig Pittman.
  5. 'Toxic' times: How repeal of Florida's tax on services reverberates, 30 years later

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Long before Hurricane Irma attacked Florida, the state faced a troubled fiscal future that the storm will only make worse.

    Robertson says the tax debate is now “toxic.”