(BIVN) – A record number of public schools will be offering free meals to children this summer.
The Hawaii State Department of Education announced on Monday that 71 public schools will serve meals through its summer food service program, Seamless Summer Option (SSO) and 21 of them will be on the Big Island.
From the Hawaiʻi Department of Education:
Beginning in early June, the SSO program will be available at public schools around the state free of charge to all children 18 years and younger. Meals will be served at select locations Monday through Friday, except June 11 (King Kamehameha Day) and July 4 (Independence Day). Parents are encouraged to call their child’s school directly to find out the specific times for meal service.
Here is the list of schools on Hawaiʻi Island:
- Hilo High
- Hilo Intermediate
- Kau High
- Ke Kula O Nawahi PCS
- Keaau Elementary
- Keaau High
- Keaau Middle
- Kealakehe High
- Kealakehe Intermediate
- Keaukaha Elementary
- Keonepoko Elementary
- Kohala Elementary
- Kohala High
- Kohala Middle
- Konawaena High & Intermediate
- Mountain View Elementary
- Naalehu Elementary & Intermediate
- Pahoa High & Intermediate
- Waiakea High
- Waiakea Intermediate
- Waimea Elementary
“The Department is excited to see an increase in the number of schools that have stepped up to feed our keiki this summer. This is typically a period of time where our most vulnerable students do not have access to services that they normally would during the school year,” said Dann Carlson, assistant superintendent of the Office of School Facilities and Support Services, in the media release. “Our hope is that more students will enjoy a free meal, simply by stopping by one of our participating schools.”
School officials say SSO is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and was established to ensure that low-income children continue to receive nutritious meals during the summer. The DOE says:
An eligible school must have 50 percent or more of its regular enrolled students qualifying for free or reduced-price lunches and some type of summer program on campus. However, meal recipients do not have to be enrolled in those classes to be served.