Friday, August 7, 2020
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Chicago schools to provide meals during summer

The Chicago Public Schools will be offering free weekday lunches to kids up to age 18 throughout the summer, WTTW (PBS affiliate, Chicago) reports.

This is thanks to the LunchStop meal program, which will provide lunches for students at specific sites across the city. On the website, you can type in your address and the page will bring up the lunch site closest to you. The sites will be serving lunch between 10:30 and 12:30, Monday through Friday, through August 25.

“Access to nutritious meals is essential for children to enjoy a healthy and productive summer, and we are pleased to be able to greatly expand access to the CPS LunchStop program this year,” the station quoted CPS CEO Forrest Claypool as saying in a statement. “Working with our partners, CPS is helping to fight child hunger and provide thousands of lunches to kids throughout the city.”

The district spends about $80 million for breakfasts and lunches during the school year, which ended on June 22, providing about 70 million meals annually.

In other lunch-related action late last month, the nation’s third-largest school district voted to review changes related to its Wellness Policy. CPS is looking to include the Good Food Purchasing Program in its operations. This program helps ensure public entities like school districts, hospitals, and city agencies purchase only healthy, local food.

The program is based in California and uses what it calls a “metric-based framework” to choose food that is locally produced, environmentally sustainable, and nutritious.

“It’s a long-term implementation process, but it has the effect of changing the entire landscape,” the station quoted Jose Oliva, co-director of the Food Chain Workers Alliance, as saying. “The whole food system shifts as a result of this just because of the amount of food that the school district purchases.”

If the program is eventually adopted, Chicago would become the fourth school district in the country—and the first outside California—to use it. Districts in Oakland, San Francisco, and Los Angeles are now using it.

Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.

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