HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – Thousands of Holyoke school children have been assured of a nutritious lunch every weekday during school vacation.
The park at the Holyoke Public Library is one of a dozen inviting places where Sodexo Food Services will provide lunches this summer, free of charge, for young people through the age of 18.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture provides the means to help families living on a limited income. Seven-year-old Melvin Marrerro is one of 8,000 Holyoke children who qualify for the more than two months of free summer lunches.
“It’s like to have this free food here like every single day in the summer and it’s like very good to have the food and a treat,” said Marrerro.
The lunch in the park program’s opening day menu Monday, included a ham and cheese sandwich and dessert. Sodexo spokeswoman Ashley Plante said in the days ahead, the school children will be served favorites including chicken patties and cheeseburgers.
The children, be they 7-years-old or 17, are grateful for the meals that take some of the pressure off their families’ budgets.
“I feel like this is great, important, something to eat or insecure about food,” Stephanie Perez told 22News.
The summer meals program has been a mainstay in the Holyoke school system for years. These children and others like them will be enjoying a weekday summer meal at a dozen different park settings, free of charge, through August 23.