Last week marked the start of Summer Food Service Program for many locations serving free lunch and breakfast in Rochester and the surrounding area.
The Summer Food Service Program is a federal program funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. This year, Minnesota will have almost 1,000 serving locations, including more than 50 in southeastern Minnesota.
The program is open to any child 18 or younger. There is no requirement for students to be enrolled in any other program that would qualify them for assistance during the school year, said Renee Conklin, the extended meals coordinator at Rochester Public Schools. The names of those who come to the meals will not be recorded.
In Rochester, there are four schools serving free lunch and breakfast. They are Ben Franklin Elementary, Gage Elementary, Sunset Terrace Elementary and Rochester Alternative Learning Center.
In addition, there are mobile locations at Oak Terrace mobile home park and Silver Lake Park, next to the pool. Those serve lunch Monday through Thursday.
On Monday, Friedell Middle School will be added to the list of locations providing free lunch for children. Friedell will only be serving breakfast on July 12, 19 and 26.
In July, John Adams Middle School, Jefferson Elementary, Riverside Central Elementary and Mayo High School will start serving breakfast and lunch.
Hours for each location vary, but in general, breakfast is served between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. and lunch is served between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.
Some locations may require you to buzz in before entering the school. The food is required to be eaten on site.
To get specific information about the hours of locations in Rochester, visit Rochester Public School’s website for the summer meal program, www.rochesterschools.org/families/student-nutrition/summer-meals, or call 507-328-4262 or 507-328-4218.
To find the location of other Summer Food Service Programs visit the USDA’s webpage, “Find Summer Meals in Your Community,” www.fns.usda.gov/summerfoodrocks, or call 1-800-543-7709 or TTY 651-291-8440. The meal finder tool may include programs that are not open to the public in Rochester, so Conklin asks the public to refer to RPS’s website for accurate information.