Food That's In When School is Out

This week, we scored one for some of our youngest Angelenos.

On Thursday morning, I was joined by educators, school district administrators, and food policy advocates at Lake Street Community Center in Historic Filipinotown to announce a major partnership.

For the first time, the City of Los Angeles and the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) will work together to provide free meals this summer to children up to 18 years old.

LAUSD’s Food Services Department will not only serve meals at 317 school sites this summer, but for the first time, it will also supply meals at 105 Los Angeles Recreation and Park Centers running from June 9 to August 8, 2014.

More than 520,000 students in LAUSD qualify for free or reduced-price meals during the school year, but many do not get enough to eat when school is out. The Summer Food Service Program is expected to serve more than 4.5 million free nutritious meals during the two months.

The partnership between the City and LAUSD has been a decade in the making and pushed through thanks to my office. This collaboration will help ensure that public food dollars are spent in a way that delivers the best quality food with the highest nutritional value to our youth during the summer months.

Better delivery of the Summer Food Service Program meals will also increase federal reimbursement dollars coming into the City of LA, and generate more activity and foot traffic in the parks and recreation centers.

But we’re not stopping there. Through the Good Food Purchasing Pledge, we recognize a responsibility to use our food dollars to encourage greater production of sustainable food items in the region, promote healthy eating and respect for workers in the food chain, recognize the humane treatment of animals and support the local small business economy.

As Chair of the City’s Arts, Parks, Health, Aging, and Los Angeles River Committee, I am especially proud of this accomplishment and the partnership with our education system. I am grateful that we were able to work together and develop a plan to make sure every child has a meal this summer, regardless of their family’s income level. Everyone deserves easy access to fresh, healthy food.

I want to personally thank Mike Shull with the Department of Recreation and Parks, the folks with LAUSD’s Beyond the Bell program, Michael Flood with the LA Regional Food Bank and Chair of the LA Food Policy Council, and Matt Sharp with California Food Policy Advocates for helping me make this a reality for my youngest constituents as well as kids across the City of Angels.

With gratitude,

MITCH O'FARRELL
Councilmember, 13th District

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