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Summer food service program is in full swing

NASHUA – Hunger is a widespread issue that sees no vacations, breaks or holidays. That’s why students of the Nashua School District are invited to participate in a USDA-sponsored summer food service program, which provides free meals to all children 18 and younger at various times throughout the season, ensuring that no student goes hungry.

Nashua School District Food Service Director Dahlia Daigle said what’s great is that she also is teaming up with Southern New Hampshire Services, who will provide free meals at community areas in Nashua.

Daigle said they are making sure they aren’t doubling up locations, but are looking to fill in the gaps during the day.

A poem that is posted on Southern New Hampshire Health’s website titled, “Food That’s In, When School Is Out” sums up the rules associated with the program.

“Please eat with us, don’t take it and run, we came here to sit down with you and have fun,” the poem reads. Other rules noted include throwing away trash in designated trash bags, and only one meal per person.

Daigle called program volunteers with Southern New Hampshire Health “rockstars.” They fill in the gaps that the schools aren’t able to cover, because the grant for this program can only cover so much.

Collectively, she said, “We’re trying to do our best.”

“We are all about feeding kids,” she added. “There’s some who really don’t have accessibility to food, so we’re trying to get (the) word out completely.”

In the Nashua School District, seven out of 17 schools have 50 percent or higher of their students qualifying for free and reduced lunch, according to 2018-2019 statistics provided by the New Hampshire Department of Education Division of Education Analytics and Resources’ Bureau of Educational Statistics.

Four of those seven schools have more than 70 percent of students qualifying for free and reduced lunch.

In attempts to make summer a fun time, where students don’t have to worry about going hungry all day long, meals will be offered at locations scattered throughout the city.

In addition, a texting service is available. To find the closest free summer meal, text 877-877. A message will pop up asking for a zip code, address or state.

Meals will be provided at the sites and times as follows:

At open sites, all children ages 1-18 eat free.

• Mount Pleasant Elementary School, 10 Manchester St., Nashua – July 8 to Aug. 2. Breakfast 8:30-9 a.m. Monday through Friday.

• Dr. Norman Crisp Elementary School, 50 Arlington St., Nashua – July 8 to Aug. 2. Breakfast 8:30-9 a.m. Monday through Friday.

• Ledge Street School, 139 Ledge St. – July 8 to Aug. 1. Breakfast 8:30-9:30 a.m. Monday through Friday; lunch 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

• Fairgrounds Elementary School, 37 Blanchard St. – July 1 to Aug. 1. Breakfast 8:30-9:30 a.m. Monday through Friday ; lunch 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

• Amherst Street School, 71 Amherst St. – July 1 to Aug. 2. Breakfast 8:30-9:30 a.m. Monday through Friday; lunch 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

At open sites, all children ages 1-18 eat free. The following site is a not an open site – enrolled students only.

Nashua High School North, 3 Titan Way – July 1 to Aug. 2. Breakfast 8:30-9:30 a.m. Monday through Friday; lunch 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

In addition, Southern New Hampshire Services will be offering free meals open to all children under 18 this summer starting June 18 through Aug. 30 at the following spots in Nashua.

• Rotary Pool. Breakfast 8:30-10 a.m.; lunch 1-2 p.m.

• WIC Clinic. Breakfast 8:30-10 a.m.; lunch 12:30-2 p.m.

• Dr. Crisp School. Breakfast 9:15-9:45 a.m.; lunch 12:15-12:45 p.m.

• Bronstein Apartments. Breakfast 9-9:30 a.m.; lunch noon-12:30 p.m.

• Nashua P.A.L. Lunch noon-12:30 p.m.

• Centennial pool. Lunch 1-2 p.m.

• Head Start, 11th Street. Lunch noon-12:30 p.m.

• Nashua Soup Kitchen. Lunch 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.

• Salvation Army. Breakfast 8-9 a.m.; lunch noon-12:30 p.m.

• Tolls street Mission. Lunch 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday only.

• Nashua Public Library. 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

• Sandy Pond Splash Pad. 12:45-1:15 p.m.

• Crown Hill Pool. Noon to 1 p.m.

Grace Pecci may be reached at 594-1243 or gpecci@nashuatelegraph.com.