No such thing as a free lunch? NUSD proves that old adage wrong at kickoff celebration for summer meals program

--- Published on June 07th 2018 ---
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NUSD summer meals celebration

No such thing as a free lunch? Bah, humbug.

Natomas Unified proved that old adage wrong today by serving 275 free BBQ hamburger or chicken apple sausage lunches at Natomas Park Elementary School to celebrate the district’s summer-long meals program. Youth 18 and under paid nothing, while an additional 31 meals were served to adults for $3.50.

Diners also received green salad, fresh fruit and milk amid a festive atmosphere that included music, a free farmers market, and the chance for kids to create mango smoothies by pedaling a specially equipped bicycle. Turnout was the largest-ever for such an event at Natomas Park Elementary.

NUSD’s Nutrition Services Department plans a similar party from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday, June 14, at Two Rivers Elementary, 3201 W. River Dr. The two BBQ celebrations spotlight the serving of free weekday meals to youth at 10 NUSD schools until July 29. Dates, times and locations are available here.

District Trustees Lisa Kaplan and Sue Heredia, as well as Supt. Chris Evans, were among those attending today’s community party at Natomas Park Elementary under sunny and warm skies, comfortable, not sizzling summer temperatures.

Parents gave thumbs-up when asked about the celebration.

Vicente Muniz brought three children, ages 3 to 6. They had fun and particularly enjoyed the smoothie bicycle, he said.

“The food was pretty good,” Muniz added.

Vicki Cruz also brought three kids to the event, ages 4 to 8, and they especially like the free farmers market, she said. “They love it. “We’ve come for the past three years, and they especially like getting to pick out their own vegetables. Then we take them home and cook them.”

Two local farms, Vierra and Fiery Ginger, assisted by passing out vegetables. Families could take home collard greens, radishes, Dino kale, lettuce, kohlrabi, golden beets, curly kale, green onions, and other fresh vegetables.

Fiery Ginger Farm also helped families create a tiny paper pot and gave them a fledgling tomato plant to grow at home.

NUSD is committed to providing free meals to youth throughout the summer, so that no child has to go hungry while school cafeterias are closed.