The Winston-Salem/Forsyth County school district is kicking off its free summer meal program this week. 

Children 18 and under can visit select school sites for free breakfast and lunch starting June 20. The food will be available Mondays through Thursdays at more than 25 locations.

Breakfast will be available from 8:15 to 8:45 a.m. Lunch will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. 

During the pandemic, the United States Department of Agriculture provided waivers that allowed families to take multiple meals on the go last summer. Those waivers expired this year, which means children must eat the meals on site. 

Alicia Crews, the district manager for the child nutrition department, said that while this change limits the flexibility of the program, she is still excited to make a positive impact on the community. 

“We will still offer nutritious options for breakfast and lunch with a variety of, you know, proteins, bread, grains, fruits, vegetables, milk, and so menuing won't necessarily change,” she said. “It's just really the manner in which the community can access those meals.”

Crews said the district served just over 400,000 meals last summer. She said her goal is to serve as many or more this time around, especially in light of the general increase in costs of gas and food. 

“Families that maybe would never have applied for our free and reduced meal program in the last couple of years may have experienced situations financially that required them to do that,” she said. “And with the increase in costs … and all of the things that are happening right now, I anticipate that the need for families is as great or greater than it has been for the last two years.”

The free summer meal program ends Aug. 11. More information about the program can be found on the district's website.

Amy Diaz covers education for WFDD in partnership with Report For America. You can follow her on Twitter at @amydiaze.

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