BALTIMORE (WJZ) — 80 percent of Baltimore city children receive free or reduced-cost meals at school every day during the school year, but when classes end for the year, it can leave them wondering where their next meal will come from.
Fortunately, the annual summer meals program, which serves breakfast and lunch for free all summer, kicked off Tuesday.
This summer, the city, state Department of Education, Baltimore’s parks and recreation department, the American Dairy Association, the National Football League’s “Fuel Up to Play 60” program and local farmers are all teaming up to make sure kids across the city receive at least two fresh, nutritious and free meals a day.
“When you fuel up your body, basically you’re giving your body the opportunity to work properly,” said Ravens star and “Fuel Up to Play 60” representative Qadry Ismail.
This is the third year the program has existed, and last year more than half of eligible children took advantage of it.
“We want every city Baltimore youth to have a healthy breakfast and a healthy lunch throughout the summer,” said Tisha Edwards with the Mayor’s Office of Child and Family Success.
“You’re talking about kids up into their teens, they’re developing. they’re constantly developing whether it be protein for their muscles and an opportunity to grow their bones and joints, it affects them not only physically but also mentally. We’re talking about our future,” Ismail said.
On Fridays, the kids are invited to two city fire houses for “Fridays at the Fire House.”
“They have an opportunity to come and eat a healthy meal,” said Chief Niles Ford with the Baltimore City Fire Department. “We talk to them about fire safety, we even talk to them about life.”
A mobile meal van will also circulate all summer long offering free meals. It may be hot, but there’s no reason for any child to be hungry in the city this summer.
For a list of locations serving summer meals, dial 211 or click here.