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Summer Food Service Program kicks off in Marion County, free meals for all children

Updated: Jun. 7, 2021 at 4:58 PM EDT
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BELLEVIEW, Fla. (WCJB) - Children in north central Florida have a way to eat government food this summer without worry.

Monday Marion County Public Schools kicked off their Summer Food Service Program.

The program is funded by the federal USDA and the state Agriculture Department.

From now until July 26, every Monday morning starting at 9, families can pick up 10 meals for the week for each child in the household.

Belleview Elementary School is one of 22 pick up locations this year.

Parents drove up ‘curbside pick up’ style to pick up their meals for the week.

Officials said they didn’t expected a big turnout.

“Since a lot of the schools are open for summer school, we anticipated there being a low count. We planned for about 25 and we had people in the back making extras,” Belleview Elementary Cafeteria Manager, William Ostrander said.

And boy did they need those extra hands. They had 40 families pick up meals on the first day.

Any child under the age of 18 in Marion County, regardless whether or not they’re a public school student, is eligible for these free meals.

“We’re here to serve the kids and we really just want everybody to get their children fed. We know that times have been tough, it’s hard on the parents, so please just bring your children,” MCPS Summer School Coordinator, Terry Jennings said.

The Boys and Girls Clubs in Dunnellon and Ocala, the Lillian Bryant community, ED Croskey Community Center, and Ocala YMCA will also be receiving free meals for their children through the district’s Summer Food Service Program.

Free meals across north central Florida

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