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No Hungry Students: Where Lake Forest Kids Can Get Free Meals

California schools chief tells updated list of places that offer children low-cost or no-cost meals.

Hungry kids are handicapped when they come to school, all educators know. So good meals for low-income students are part of many schools’ menu, including in Lake Forest.

On Friday, the state superintendent of public instruction announced newly updated lists of groups offering low-cost or free meals for children of low-income families.

At least one location offers such help in Lake Forest, according to the Child and Adult Care Food Program Day Care Home Sponsors and 2012-13 CACFP Center Sites.

“Too many disadvantaged families are still struggling with the most basic need of all—providing nutritious meals for children,” said Tom Torlakson, the state schools chief. “I hope these updated lists help direct families to these critical resources.”

The 2012-13 CACFP Sites in Lake Forest is sponsored by El Toro Baptist Church Preschool and Arbor Christian School, 23302 El Toro Rd. For more information about the meal program at this site, the public is asked to contact administrator Faye Martnick at 949-855-4599.

As part of Torlakson’s Team California for Health Kids initiative, he encourages students to be physically active, eat more fresh fruits and vegetables, and drink more water.

Studies show these factors can lead to better academic achievement in students, the state said.

CACFP, funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, provides nutritious food to infants, children and adults. Under the program, all children enrolled in day-care homes get meals at no charge.

Most day-care centers taking part also provide meals at no charge. In centers that have a separate charge for meals, participants may receive free or reduced-price meals, the state says.

Nearly 5,000 local day-care centers and 17,000 sponsored family day-care home providers in California take part in the CACFP.

Families with children in child-care centers can qualify for free or reduced-price meals if their household income is equal to or less than the income eligibility guidelines. See attached PDF chart.

In a news release, the state also said:

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s most recent income eligibility scales are adjusted for inflation and are higher than the previous year. For example, a family of four that earns no more than $29,965 a year (up from $29,055 last year) can qualify for free meals and snacks. Also, a family of four that earns no more than $42,643 a year (up from $41,348 last year) can qualify for reduced-price meals and snacks. The Income Eligibility Scales for free and reduced-price meals and snacks are attached.

Children who receive California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs), CalFresh (formerly Food Stamps), Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR), Kinship Guardianship Assistance Payment Program (Kin-GAP), Head Start, Early Head Start, or the Even Start Program are automatically eligible for free meal benefits under CACFP.

Adults who receive CalFresh, FDPIR, Social Security Income, or Medicaid benefits are also eligible for free meals under CACFP. Institutions serve meals to all participants regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability.

For more information, see the CACFP Day Care Home Sponsors list and the 2012–13 CACFP Center Sites list.

JustUs March 17, 2013 at 04:59 AM
What am I missing here? It's been my understanding that low-income or 'poor' families get food stamps. Those are good at all grocery stores, right? What's wrong with brown bagging it like we used to do as kid? How hard it is to put a ham sandwich w/lettuce, mayo and tomato, an apple, a couple oatmeal cookies and a bottle of juice in a bag or a lunch pail? We used to have some really cool lunch pails. Do they make those anymore? Why do we have to have full-serve restaurants in every school? All the kids I grew up with brown bagged it and we grew up healthy and strong. If parents are so uneducated that they don't know what to feed their own kids then the schools should have a nutrition class for parents who need the help. But schools should be places to learn - not short order restaurants.
Homer March 22, 2013 at 12:56 AM
If there is one thing that government has not learned over the centuries, it is that you cannot cure ignorance with a handout. BTW - Who is verifying these "low income" families? I have seen seventh graders pay twenty-five cents, or nothing at all, for their lunch and pull a brand new smart phone out of their pocket. Just sayin'... New phones, clean clothes, fancy sneakers, etc. - it surely must all be donated to these families. Doesn't matter what they serve the kids in school - it gets picked over and thrown into the trash without a single bite taken. Healthy? I have seen kids peel off the cheese and pepperoni and just eat the bread crust. High school students head off to fast food (Del Taco, Taco Bell, Chipotle, Pizza Hut...) for lunch.

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