Summer is almost here, are you ready?
Summertime brings in a period of sunny and fun-filled days for children of all ages. While they are enjoying this time, one thing that shouldn’t be on their mind is whether or not they will eat that day. As an advocate and a caregiver, it is important to make sure that the children in your care are eating healthy and regularly. This is where Alameda County’s free summer lunch programs stand ready to assist.
Eating well every day is an integral part of a child’s development. Their needs are vastly different than that of an adult. When children are hungry, they are not going to want to engage in the usual activities and will not be themselves. Alternatively, when they are well fed, they are energized and ready to soak in the environment around them. As their bodies grow, so should our understanding of their individual needs.
I have firsthand experience of why these types of programs are necessary. When money was tight, an accessible free meal program helped to keep my stomach full. It also gave me a positive outlook. I was also be exposed to new types of food, as being young would sometimes prevent me from trying new things. Years after my own experiences, I am happy to make this knowledge accessible to families and caregivers in similar situations.
Thankfully, many organizations in Alameda County offer free meals and food products throughout the year. Many local libraries participate in such a program, allowing you to take advantage of both a nutritious meal and a space filled with child-friendly activities. The Eastmont Branch Library is one such place where kids can enjoy the best of both worlds. In addition to reading together, the Eastmont branch offers movies and board games on Fridays. On Wednesdays, attend an arts and crafts session! Other branches have different offerings, such as building with LEGOs at Oakland’s Main Branch and arts and crafts time at the Brookfield Branch.
If you’re looking for a way to stay cool amidst the heat, pop into the East Oakland Sports Center! It is important that kids stay active during the summer so find something fun on our Out & About page. Let summer be the time to have fun and express creativity!
Alameda County is ready to assist you in feeding and bringing up happy and healthy children. To find a location that is participating in a free meal program during the summertime, click here. Some sites, like the food pantries, are available all year round. As a caregiver, make sure you are prepared with the necessary resources. Nobody should go hungry at any time of the year. This summer, in addition to making sure your kids are having fun and getting enough outdoor time, make sure they are eating full, nutritious meals.