AURORA | The school year may be over, but Aurora families who depended on free and reduced lunch at school still have a number of options this summer.
Both Aurora Public Schools and the Cherry Creek School District will start their summer meal programs next week, offering free breakfast and lunch to school-aged children and youth.
APS Nutrition Services is offering free breakfast and lunch to anyone 18 and under at 30 locations around the city from May 30 to August 5. Lunch will also be served at five additional district schools from June 5-30.
Cherry Creek’s Summer Food Service Program runs Monday-Friday, June 5 through July 27 from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at six district schools: Canyon Creek Elementary School, Eastridge Community Elementary School, Independence Elementary School, Red Hawk Ridge Elementary School, Sunrise Elementary School and Village East Elementary School.
Meals are available to anyone 18 and under, according to the district.
Cherry Creek is also partnering again with APS to offer meals at two outdoor locations this summer. From 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., meals will be offered at Utah Park and Mission Viejo Park.
Food insecurity, especially among families with children, has been a frequent topic of discussion in Colorado since the beginning of the pandemic. This school year, districts returned to requiring families to fill out applications to receive free and reduced lunch after the USDA ended an expanded school lunch program created during the pandemic.
At the time, district officials said the need had declined from the height of the pandemic when APS became the largest provider of free meals in Aurora, but that the need was still there.
Recently, food bank operators in Colorado said rising costs due to inflation and the end of expanded food stamp allocations at the end of February prompted them to prepare for an increase in the number of people seeking help.
“When this additional benefit ends, we will see a lot more need in our community,” Food Bank of the Rockies Chief Marketing Officer Aditi Desai said. sentry post in March.
This coming school year, both APS and Cherry Creek will participate in a new state program to offer free school meals to all students. The initiative will be funded by a tax measure approved by voters in last fall’s election.
The full list of summer meal locations and more details are available at nutrition.aurorak12.org and cherrycreekschools.org.
A number of other organizations also provide various forms of food aid. A list of local food banks is available on the Arapahoe County government website, and families can search for summer meals by going to kidsfoodfinder.org or texting ‘mad’ or ‘comida’ to 304-304.