New free student lunch program provides food for thought

LUBBOCK, Texas - When school lets out, students do not always know where to go if they need a free nutritious meal. While there are almost 50 locations to get free meals across the city, community partners continue to create programs to make it more fun for students.

Through a new program called "Feed Your Future," Lubbock ISD, Texas Tech, Aramark and South Plains College is providing students an opportunity to enjoy a free lunch while hearing from different speakers.

Community partners expanded opportunities for kids younger than 18 to get free summer lunches. While they are eating, various speakers in the community will host discussions on a variety of topics, said Lori Johnson, director of child nutrition for LISD.

"We are trying to do some type of event that would give them a subject matter that would help them in their future. We are calling it 'Feed your Future,' and we are doing eight different lectures throughout the summer months at the different high schools," said Johnson.

Students will get insight from professionals in the fields of medicine, sports, arts, business and more.

Johnson hoped this particular series would attract older kids, who do not come to get free meals as often.

"We think it will provide more awareness to the summer meal program, and also help community students find a topic of interest they may be planning to have future career opportunities in," said Johnson.

While this particular program is new, it is also a part of a small web of multiple organizations offering free student meals over the summer, said Andy Black, regional director for Texas hunger initiative.

"There's great need in Lubbock, as one in four kids struggle with hunger regularly, and so there's a big need," said Black.

Black says this program isn't just a summer fling, it is a year-round program that needs constant dedication.

"We have a child hunger action team that meets regularly throughout the year and that representatives from a lot of the organizations providing summer meals but also other organizations that care about young people in our community," said Black.

The summer lecture series are scheduled every Thursday from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. between June 7 - June 28, and July 12 - Aug. 2. For complete details visit their website.

For a full list of locations for meals across the community, visit summerfood.org or text 'foodtx' to 877-877 to get sites. 

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