Since 2003, The City of San Diego Parks and Recreation Department (PRD) has partnered with the San Diego Unified School District to serve summer lunch at a couple of recreation centers. Since then, the program had grown to 27 sites in partnership with San Diego Unified and an additional 5 sites in partnership with South Bay Union School District. City staff have served 1,358,075 meals since the program started. And in 2015,the California Park and Recreation Society recognized the program with an Award of Excellence.
Unfortunately, COVID-19 has dramatically impacted our summer lunch program in the fact that San Diego Unified School District would be unable to serve as our sponsor. The City PRD was not budgeted to operate this program and sought San Diego Parks Foundation (SDPF) help.
The SDPF with the help of Feeding San Diego and a grant from “Nourishing Neighbors Community Relief” has been able to restart the program for hundreds of children across communities of concern. The equipment purchase includes refrigerators, storage, canopies, water coolers, tables, chairs, and supplies to ensure that the distribution of meals complies with the latest COVID-19 guidelines from the State of California and the Health Order from the County of San Diego.
As of late August, the program has provided 37,213 meals for kids at 17 Recreation Centers in San Diego’s communities of concern and the program has been extended into the fall while SDU is still mostly online learning.