Beginning May 31 and ending Aug. 12, 2016, free summer lunch will be provided to all children 1 to 18 years old who are present at lunch service locations and in line to be served. Lunch will be available Monday through Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. (no service on July 4) at the following locations in Rio Rancho:
Lunch will be provided on a first-come, first-served basis, and all food must be consumed on-site.
Lunches that are served follow current U.S. Department of Agriculture guidelines, which include a daily serving of milk, vegetable or fruit juice, daily meat sandwich or meat alternate such as chicken nuggets, daily grains/breads or crackers, and a daily serving of either fruit or vegetables.
The Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) is a federally funded program operated nationally by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and administered at the state level by the New Mexico Children, Youth and Families Department. The city of Rio Rancho, which applied to be a local sponsor of the program, receives funding from the SFSP to purchase lunches and distribute them to children. Meals are prepared and purchased from Rio Rancho Public Schools and Sodexo.
During the school year, nutritious meals are available for children through the National School Lunch and School Breakfast programs. However, those programs end when school lets out for the summer. SFSP helps children in lower income areas get the nutrition they need to learn, play and grow throughout the summer months when school is not in session. The meal sites that will be utilized are in close proximity to Rio Rancho schools where 50 percent of the student body qualifies for free or reduced-price school meals.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture prohibits discrimination against its customers, employees, and applicants for employment on the bases of race, color, national origin, age, disability, sex, gender identity, religion, reprisal, and where applicable, political beliefs, marital status, familial or parental status, sexual orientation, or all or part of an individual’s income is derived from any public assistance program or protected genetic information in employment or in any program or activity conducted or funded by the Department (Not all prohibited bases will apply to all programs and/or employment activities).
The SFSP was launched in Rio Rancho in 2009. Last year, 33,576 lunches were provided. The city of Rio Rancho’s program has been honored previously by the state’s Children, Youth and Families Department with several awards which included recognition as the state’s program of the year, excellence in program record keeping, extraordinary monitoring efforts, outstanding outreach efforts, and for outstanding efforts to increase total meals served.