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Hawaii sees record number of public schools serving free summer meals

A record number of Hawaii public schools are offering free breakfast and lunch to children this summer, according to the state Department of Education.

Seventy-one schools across the state are serving meals through its summer food service program called Seamless Summer Option. More than 40 schools on Oahu — from Makaha Elementary to Laie Elementary and Roosevelt High — are participating. Last year, a total of 69 public schools participated.

“The Department is excited to see an increase in the number of schools that have stepped up to feed our keiki this summer,” said Dann Carlson, assistant superintendent, Office of School Facilities and Support Services, in a news release. “This is typically a period of time where our most vulnerable students do not have access to services that they normally would during the school year. Our hope is that more students will enjoy a free meal, simply by stopping by one of our participating schools.”

Starting this month, the program will be available at public schools around the state free of charge to all children 18 years and younger. Meals will be served at select locations Monday through Friday, except King Kamehameha Day on June 11 and and July 4.

Parents are encouraged to call their child’s school directly to find out the specific times for meal service.

The program, funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, was established to ensure that low-income children continue to receive nutritious meals during the summer. To be eligible, 50 percent or more of a school’s regular enrolled students must qualify for free or reduced-price lunches and offer some type of summer program on campus.

Meal recipients do not have to be enrolled in classes to be served.

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