Summertime means time away from the classroom, but for many Colorado kids it also can mean a loss of access to school meals—fuel that helps them thrive in and out of school.
The newly-opened Del Mar Family Aquatic Center in Aurora not only has a pool, but the site also participates in the Summer Food Service Program, which ensures any kid 18 years or younger can get a healthy meal at no cost.
On a recent sunny day, kids in swimsuits lined up for lunch. Apples, bananas and milk, along with ham or cheese sandwiches, were carefully packed on ice to maintain freshness. Depending on the weather, the summer meal site can serve up to 75 lunches a day.
Ami Crowe and her three kids, Julien, Maxwell and Zoe, were sitting at a picnic table under the shade of a park shelter. “Julien was here yesterday with friends, and he liked it so much he insisted that we all come today,” shared Ami.
Ami and her husband, both Colorado State University graduates, moved from Ft. Collins to Denver a few years ago, so that he could pursue an MBA and start a business, which started to gain momentum in the last two years. Ami, who previously taught literacy in schools, hopes to work with her husband, but until then she’s focused on taking care of their three kids.
Del Mar Family Aquatic Center is within walking distance from their home, just a few blocks away, which makes for an easy trip to the pool for swim lessons, followed by lunch. “Both Julien and I can do the butterfly,” Maxwell stated with pride.
Hundreds of community sites across Colorado continue to provide free, healthy summer meals to children and teenagers up to 18 years old. The statewide program, officially known as the Summer Food Service Program, was established as a safeguard for children during the summer months. It is funded by the USDA, administered by the Colorado Department of Education, and supported by Hunger Free Colorado and hundreds of organizations across the state.
Families can find a nearby summer meal site by using the interactive map at KidsFoodFinder.org or calling (855) 855-4626. All information is kept confidential, and there are no income or registration requirements for your child to participate.