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Summer feeding program works to keep thousands full

Posted at 4:51 AM, Jun 07, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-07 06:52:53-04

No children should worry about where their next meal comes from, which is why the Summer Breakspot (A Summer Food Service Program) staff pack thousands of breakfast and lunch sacks every day to serve at schools and other locations in Pasco County. They also load the meals on Summer Lunch Buses, which are retrofitted with lunch tables.

“When one little girl comes up to you and hugs you and says ‘thank you so much this might be the only meal I get today,’” said Megan Sexton, the Summer Food Service program coordinator and finance specialist for Pasco County Schools Food and Nutrition Services. “I didn’t even know this was existing in our county.”

RELATED | Hillsborough Co. feeding thousands of kids this summer

In Pasco County, finding the next meal is a real issue. Statistics from the Pasco County School District show that close to 60% of all students get a free or reduced lunch, which is close to 41,000 students.

“Over the Summer, they have nothing to help them out,” said Sexton. The Summer Lunch Buses stop at more than 10 different locations like libraries and apartment complexes. They give free lunches to anyone 18 and under.

While the focus of the program is to keep bellies full, kids we spoke with say they've made new friends on the bus and that the whole experience is just plain fun.

RELATED | 'No Kid Hungry' initiative providing free meals in Tampa Bay

The Summer Food Service Program is federally funded under the U.S Department of Agriculture. While the buses only serve free lunches, many locations offer free breakfasts as well. Last year the Summer Food Service Program served 106,742 breakfasts which is 3,398 for a daily average and 144,882 which is 4,600 for a daily average.

The bus schedule is listed below and for more information about the rest of the sites, visit the program's website.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has a helpful site finder tool on its website to help families across the nation find summer feeding programs near them.

Dade City (Bus 1)
Stop #1
Arbours  Apartments
12861 Stately Oak Street, Dade City
11:30 a.m. to noon
 
Stop #2
Farm Workers Self-Help
37124 Lock Street, Dade City
12:15 p.m. to 12:45 p.m.
 
Stop #3
Lake George Manor
15246 Davis Loop, Dade City
1 p.m. to 1:45 p.m.
 
 
Dade City (Bus 2)
Stop #1
Cypress Manor Apartments
20637 Evergreen Ct., Dade City
11:30 a.m. to noon
 
Stop #2
Glorious Church
37504 Trilby Road, Dade City
12:15 p.m. to 12:45 p.m.
 
Stop #3
Hilltop Landings Apartments
15641 14th Street, Dade City
1 p.m. to 1:45 p.m.
 
Holiday (Bus 1)
Stop #1
Weston Oaks Apartments   
1251 Weston Oaks Drive, Holiday
11:15 a.m. to 11:45 p.m.
 
Stop #2
12:45-1:15
South Holiday Library
4649 Mile Stretch Drive, Holiday
Noon to 12:45 p.m.
 
Stop #3   
Centennial Park Library
5740 Moog Road, Holiday
1 p.m. to 1:45 p.m.
 
Hudson (Bus 1)
Stop #1
Hudson Hills
15902 Homewood Lane, Hudson
11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
 
Stop #2  
Hudson Library
8012 Library Road, Hudson
12:45 p.m. to 1:45 p.m.
 
Hudson (Bus 2)
Stop #1
Regency Park Library
9701 Little Rd, New Port Richey
11:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.
 
Stop #2
Harbor Oaks Apartments
12221 Holbrook Drive, Hudson
12:30 p.m. to1 p.m.
 
Stop #3
Hudson Ridge Apartments
12140 Hudson Ridge Road, Hudson
1:15 p.m. to 1:45 p.m.
 
 
The program also hosts a few events with food, games, and treats for extra fun this summer. All events happen from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
 
Date & Location
Friday, June 9th at Zephyr Park (5039 4th Street, Zephyrhills)
Thursday, June 15th at the First Baptist Church (39607 Central Ave, Zephyrhills)
Thursday, June 22nd at the Regency Park Library (9701 Little Road, New Port Richey)
Thursday, June 29th at the Hudson Library (8012 Library Road, Hudson)