by Devin Neeley, KOB TV
May 30, 2017

BLOOMFIELD, N.M. — School’s out for summer in many parts of New Mexico, but hundreds of thousands of New Mexico’s children don’t know where their next meal will come from. That’s where the state steps in with the help of local agencies.

Children Youth and Families Department administrated the Summer Food Service Program across the state. For many children, it may mean a little bit of food security when they can’t get a school lunch.

“If it wasn’t for this school lunch, this is the only meal they are really going to get,” said Emiliano Perea, SFSP manager for CYFD.

Youth food program launches for summer

In the summer, CYFD partners with local agencies to serve almost 2 million meals to New Mexico’s children.

“A cold sandwich of some kind, cold entree, you always get milk, you always get fruits and vegetables,” Perea said.

The state identifies areas that have a high number of students that qualify for free or reduced school lunches and reimburses local agencies with federal funding for serving the meals.

The Bloomfield Schools district runs the program for Bloomfield, Aztec and Lee Acres. This year, in addition to the cold meals, they have a grill that will rotate to the different sites for a hot meal.

According to New Mexico Voices For Children’s website, in 2015 there were more than 400,000 children in New Mexico living in poverty. But, to qualify for a free summer lunch, all you have to do is show up.

“Any kid at the site, 1-18 and is in the serving line,” Perea said.

For all 700 free lunch sites across the state, click here.

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