SAN YSIDRO – San Ysidro School District helped successfully launch a new summer meals site for kids who do not have access to meals during the summer months when schools are not in session.
During a special event on July 19 at the new site, located at Waterfront Park, the SYSD Nutrition Services department unveiled delicious, healthful dishes crafted with input from the District’s students. They served the dishes – Ceviche De Willow, featuring fresh halibut from Catalina Offshore Products, and Cranberry Chicken Delight, featuring poultry from Mary’s Free Range Chicken – to local children at the park who took a short lunch break after splashing around and cooling off in the water fountains.
In January 2016, San Ysidro School District partnered with the San Diego Hunger Coalition to form the San Diego Summer Meals Task Force in order to ensure that children between 3 to 18 years old do not go hungry during the summer months, when schools are not in session. The program provides nutritious meals and snacks to children, free of charge with no eligibility requirements, at various sites throughout San Diego.
“We are thrilled for our partnership with an organization that shares our dedication to helping children succeed,” San Ysidro School District Superintendent Dr. Julio Fonseca said. “This collaboration with the San Diego Hunger Coalition is fully in line with our commitment to provide students with access to resources directed at helping to boost healthy living and academic achievement.”
Currently, SYSD has several summer meal sites including those at San Ysidro Middle School, Willow Elementary, La Mirada Elementary and Sunset Elementary.
“This program offers students the opportunity during the summer to continue with good nutrition and keeps them healthy,” said SYSD Parent Mrs. Chavarin. “I am thankful to San Ysidro for offering this meal program to our kids.”
Her son Miguel Chavarin, a former San Ysidro Middle School student and his sixth-grader sister Mariana were both in attendance at the Waterfront Park event. Miguel was one of the students who designed the Ceviche De Willow recipe, with the help of one of the founders of the farm-to-fork movement Chef Jeff Rossman.
“My brother helped come up with the recipe for the taco dish,” Mariana said proudly. “He worked with a bunch of his friends during California Thursdays to make the recipe.”
California Thursdays is a program through the Center for Ecoliteracy, which works with 58 school districts across the state to provide healthy meals to students. SYSD has been serving nutritious food made from locally sourced ingredients at all of its school sites every Thursday as a result of its booming partnership with the Center for Ecoliteracy and California Thursdays. The program has successfully raised nutritional awareness among District students and staff.
“We continue to strengthen the San Ysidro School District by partnering with organizations that hold the highest standards as they serve our community,” said San Ysidro School District Board President Marcos A. Diaz. “Our children deserve the best – and we are working hard to ensure we are providing educational opportunities and support services that make an impact on their futures.”
The addition of the newest feeding site at Waterfront Park is a tremendous step towards reaching the 72 percent of children who still risk summer hunger in San Diego County for a number of reasons, one of which is the lack of nearby feeding sites.
“Programs like this are so vital because the need for proper nutrition and learning does not end with the closing of the school year,” SYSD Director of Nutrition Pamela Lambert said. “Children who take advantage of this program receive food that keeps them healthy and ready to learn.”
SUMMERMEALS1: San Ysidro sixth-grader Mariana Chavarin assisted SYSD Nutrition Services with passing out healthy food options to her peers.
SUMMERMEALS2: Miguel Chavarin and his mother addressed those in attendance at Waterfront Park for the summer meals program and thanked San Ysidro School District along with the San Diego Summer Meals Task Force for providing children healthy food when schools are out.
SUMMERMEALS3: The San Ysidro Nutrition Services staff passed out healthy dishes to kids at Waterfront Park.