Summertime is finally here!

While many students might welcome days without school, families who rely on free or reduced-price school lunches shoulder the burden during the summer months, and this year the need is greater due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In Texas, more than one of five children struggle with hunger, the Texas Department of Agriculture reports. Texas is also among 15 states with higher food insecurity than the national average, according to non-profit Feeding Texas. Lack of nutrition during the summer makes students more likely to fall behind during the school year and experience health issues.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Austin ISD had been serving free meals to children under the age of 19. They will be continuing the program offering curbside meal service from 9-11 am on weekdays at more than 70 locations in the district. The district is also offering food pickup at over 50 designated bus stops in the district, according to a May 21 update.

AISD school buses will be at bus stops for 15-20 minutes for meal distribution. Families are encouraged to arrive to the sites 10 minutes prior to the bus’s arrival. Meals will be picked up from the school bus, adhering to social distancing guidelines.

Both breakfast and lunch will be offered on a first-come basis, and weekend meal kits will be available for pick up on Fridays. The meals will include protein, grains, fruits, vegetables and milk. A vegetarian option will be available as well.

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Adults must be accompanied by a child or provide documentation that they care for a child in Austin, such as a report card, letter from a school, a student ID or a birth certificate, according to AISD.

Curbside meal sites:

Akins Early College High School

Anderson High School

Blackshear Elementary School

Blanton Elementary School

Burnet Middle School

Crockett Early College High School

Dawson Elementary School

Dobie Middle School

Eastside Memorial Early College High School

Govalle Elementary School

LBJ Early College High School

Oak Hill Elementary

Perez Elementary School

Pleasant Hill Elementary School

T.A. Brown Elementary School

Travis Early College High School

Uphaus Early Childhood Center

More details about the ongoing summer food program can be found here.

AISD isn’t the only program offering free meals this summer. The following are locators for eligible families in the Austin-area for Summer 2020. To learn more, click on the individual link.

USDA Food and Nutrition Services

Central Texas Food Bank, call 2-1-1 or text FOODTX to 877-877 for more information about meal locations.