healthy_eating.jpgFlorida International University

MIAMI — Young people living in Liberty City and other neighborhoods where most students are eligible for free or reduced cost lunches during the school year can participate in a program aimed at providing nutritious meals during summer vacation.

The Summer Food Service Program, a federally funded initiative designed to feed young people to age 18 during the summer months kicked off in June and will run until Aug. 17.

The program operates at some 200 schools, churches, camps and social service agencies county wide, including about a dozen in Liberty City.

For information and program sites call the Miami-Dade County Department of Community Action and Human Services at 305-514-6000 or visit

Ruthe White, nutritional coordinator for the Miami-Dade Community Action Agency, said the program ensures that school-age youth get nutritious meals during the summer.

“It is important for children to have accessibility to nutritious meals, even while they are out of school,” she said. “When children have these meals, they are receiving the vitamins they need and will have the energy to be active and focused.”

Each site offers two meals a day, either breakfast and lunch or lunch and a snack. The sites are located in areas where half or more of the children are enrolled in free and reduced lunch programs throughout the school year.

Participants choose from regular or vegetarian menus that meet federal

nutritional standards, including meat or a meat alternative, bread or a bread alternative, fruit, vegetable and milk.

Options on the regular menu include ham-and-swiss sandwiches and turkey wraps, while vegetarian options include garden burgers and avocado Reuben sandwiches.

More than 7,000 young people living in Miami-Dade County are expected to participate in the program.

Katrina Bruno at

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