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IDEA Public Schools serving free meals to all kids, teens in Hillsborough County this summer

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Posted at 5:58 AM, May 31, 2022

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. — Starting Tuesday, IDEA Public Schools will offer free meals to kids and teens for the summer.

Many families in Tampa Bay are experiencing food insecurity, meaning they don’t have consistent access to enough food, especially right now.

“We know in tough times with COVID and the increases in prices, supply and demand challenges. We know that it’s sometimes not cost-effective to buy good fruits and vegetables and things like that,” said Candice Carswell, Cafeteria Manager for IDEA Victory.

That’s why IDEA Public Schools is offering anyone 18 and younger free breakfast and free lunch at either of the IDEA Public Schools campuses.

“We hope that they feel that nutritious food is still good food,” said Carswell.

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  • IDEA Victory: 11612 N Nebraska Ave.
  • IDEA Hope: 5050 E 10th Ave.

The free meals end on July 22. Breakfast is served from 7 - 10 a.m., and lunch is served from 10 a.m. - 12 p.m.

Anyone over the age of 18 can get food too, just at à la carte pricing.

“Anyone can come. You do not have to be enrolled in IDEA Public Schools to participate in these meals. We’re here. We want you guys to see us. We’re not just in the community but our goal is to become partners in the community,” said Carswell.

IDEA Public Schools said more than 80,000 people live within two miles of their campuses and they hope to serve as many people who need help.

This is all to ensure children, especially in low-income areas, have access to nutritious food during the summer months.

“We want to let them know, mom and dad, we got breakfast and lunch taken care of here. So you just have dinner. So we’ll start them off with their day and you go ahead and finish it off,” said Carswell.