Santa Clara’s youth are able to eat free this summer under Santa Clara Unified School District’s (SCUSD) Seamless Summer program.
The program — which began the week after the end of this school year — provides breakfast and lunch free of charge to any member of the public under 18 during the weekdays at participating schools. Although the program is only open to those under 18, those over 18 with mental disabilities and are dependent are also eligible for free meals.
The district is reimbursed by the federal and state government as long as the meals meet the rules and regulations set by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Each meal costs approximately $3.
Schools participating in the Seamless Summer program include Briarwood Elementary School, Bracher Elementary School, George Mayne Elementary School, Scott Lane Elementary School, Cabrillo Middle School, Peterson Middle School, Santa Clara High School and Wilcox High School.
The program was first implemented two years ago, after the district brought back summer school programs.
“They just started bringing back summer school, and once we had students on campus during the summer, we implemented this program so we can open it to the public,” said Karen Luna, Director of SCUSD Nutrition Services department. “This is the only way we can feed anybody outside of our students for free.”
Each school site has a designated breakfast and lunch time for summer school students. After these times are over, it is opened to the public. The public receives the same meals as the students.
Luna estimated that 10-15 members of the public show up to each school site every day. Additionally, she said the district has served over 8,000 free breakfasts and 31,000 free lunches this summer.
Although the program is only available during the summer, the district works to provide free meals to students during the school year as well.
Students may qualify for free or reduced-priced meals if they fall under the USDA eligibility guidelines, which is based off the student’s family income and the number of members in their household. Students who qualify for reduced-priced meals now eat free, too.