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Santa Maria-Bonita School District to offer free breakfast, lunch at all schools under national program

Evan Vega / KEYT

SANTA MARIA, Calif. – The Santa Maria-Bonita School District will be serving free breakfast and lunch to all students at every school, as well as free fruit and vegetable snacks to 12 elementary schools, under the national and statewide programs for the 2022-23 school year.

The students will be served the free meals under the Community Eligibility Provision, and students participating in after-school programs will receive supper meals at no charge, said district spokeswoman Maggie White.

"All students receive two healthy meals at no charge. Students who have access to better nutrition tend to perform better academically, have better health, and maintain better school attendance," White said, adding that students are still free to bring meals from home if they choose.

The California Universal Meals Program – the first universal meals program for school children in the country – expands the national program by not only including children from families in financial need, but all children.

In addition to the free meals, the district's Food Service Department will provide free fresh fruit or vegetable snacks to students at 12 elementary schools at least three times a week, White said.

The fruits and vegetable snacks are served free as a snack outside of the normal meal service.

This program was made possible through the state's Fresh Fruits and Vegetable Program Grant that the district applies for all 17 elementary schools every year, White said.

Twelve schools were awarded the grant for the 2022-23 school year: Adam Elementary, Alvin Elementary, Arellanes Elementary, Battles, Bonita Elementary, Bruce Elementary, Fairlawn Elementary, Liberty Elementary, Miller Elementary, Oakley Elementary, Ontiveros Elementary, and Sanchez Elementary.

District staff members will be on school playgrounds at morning recess with a cart of fresh fruits or vegetables beginning Sept. 6.

Article Topic Follows: Santa Maria - Lompoc - North County
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Jade Martinez-Pogue

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