Berkeley offers free summer lunches, snacks for youth

Berkeley is facilitating free lunches and snacks for under-18-year-olds this summer at locations across the city.

In the Berkeley Unified School District, 42 percent of students receive free or reduced lunch during the school year, which is easily accessible when school is in session but can become difficult to find during the summer. City Councilwoman Linda Maio recently sent an email to her district asking her constituents to spread the word about the free summer lunch program.

Berkeleyside has created a map, above, that shows where the lunches are distributed. Below is a list of the dates and locations of the free lunch and snack programs.

Lunch is served from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. and snack is served from 2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. at all locations.

The locations for free lunches and snacks are scattered across the city. View this interactive map in a larger window.

June 17 – Aug. 9
James Kenney Community Center, 1720 8th St.
MLK Jr. Youth Center, 1730 Oregon St.
Frances Albrier Community Center, 2800 Park St.
Harrison Street Skate Park, 5th and Harrison St.
Black Repertory Theater Group, 3210 Adeline St.
Berkeley Youth Alternatives/Strawberry Creek, 1255 Allston Way

June 17 – Aug. 2
Rosa Parks Elementary School, 920 Allston Way
Longfellow School, 1500 Derby St.

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  • PragmaticProgressive

    In the Berkeley Unified School District, 42% of students receive free or reduced lunch during the school year

    Free lunch is available to families with income at 130% of the poverty line. Reduced lunch is available at 185% of poverty guidelines. Guidelines are scaled to reflect the size of the family unit.

    According to recent census data, 13.7% of people with related children between 5-17 are below the poverty line in Berkeley.

    How do we get to 42% of the BUSD student body receiving free/reduced lunch?

  • We all know why.

    Enrollment fraud.

  • Name

    Wealthy families send their children to private schools. That skews the statistics a bit.

  • guest

    Among other problems, why are you comparing census data about childed-households that are below the poverty line to a statistic that relates to households below 185% of the poverty line? You should probably also consider counting children, not households, as the number of children in a household might not be constant across the spectrum of household incomes.

  • PragmaticProgressive

    Definitely not an apples-to-apples comparison.

    I did look at the 185% figure — you’d have to allow incomes over $75K/year to get to 42% of the >families< in Berkeley — at which point you're talking about families of at least 8 people to be eligible for reduced lunch at the 185% figure.

    But, as you rightly point out, that doesn't account for the number of children in a household. There could be a few VERY large families making up the 42%.

    I don't think that's likely, however. I wish we had other data available.

  • Truth Sayer

    Isn’t it possible they are also counting the children who attend BUSD, but do not live in Berkeley?

  • PragmaticProgressive

    I am sure of it. My point in calling out this discrepancy is to show that once again BUSD suffers from mission creep.

  • Truth Sayer

    And, ignoring the elephant in the room. Sad.

  • ubetsya

    I don’t see how you can go wrong offering healthy lunches to kids in need, wherever they’re from. I’d love to see a county or multi-city coordinated effort so it’s not all on Berkeley taxpayers. But either way, it’s a worthy effort.