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Elk Grove Citizen

Libraries to Provide Free Meals to Youth

Jun 18, 2024 01:31PM ● By Annie Kerr and Mitch Barber

Teen volunteers help with the Lunch at the Library program. Photo courtesy of Sacramento Public Library

SACRAMENTO, CA (MPG) - As another blisteringly hot summer unfolds, library officials make it a priority to provide support to youth while they are out of school and parents are working.

Fourteen public libraries throughout the area are offering free meals to local youth as needed throughout the summer.

Lunch at the Library provides free meals for young people when school is out for the summer. Starting June 18 through Aug. 9, meals will be distributed at 14 library locations Tuesdays through Fridays from noon to 1 p.m.

Carmichael Branch free lunches

 The Carmichael Branch is one of the libraries that will serve free lunches to children 18 and under.

Lunch is available for youth 18 and under who are physically present for free. Meals must be consumed on-site. No registration is required. Drop-ins are welcome. Eligibility documentation is not required. Look for signage at the library or meeting room entrance.

“The Sacramento Public Library has been doing this since 2013,” said Christie Hamm, youth services director.

“Libraries have stepped in to help kids whose families might be stressed. Our meals come with whole grains and fruits and vegetables. So, they get a good healthy meal, and we also help them get connected with our different summer reading programs,” she continued. “It’s a great time, and a friendly and welcoming place for them to come to.”

Rio Linda Branch Library

 The Rio Linda Branch Library is one of the libraries that will serve free lunches to youths 18 and under.

According to Hamm, all are welcome to enjoy the free lunches and there is no income requirement. The youth are encouraged to come to the library and engage in reading programs, computer and STEAM programs, book groups, and could even win prizes. The programming varies by library branch.

“Lunch is just the beginning of connecting people to other services the library provides,” Hamm said.

The lunches are funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and programs are funded by the California State Library.