May 27, 2015 — The Food Depot Aims to Fill the Summer Lunch Gap for Children

SANTA FE — A new program, Lunch Box Express, aims to lessen the stress on Santa Fe families feeding their children when school is out for summer break.

Lunch Box Express is a mobile food system delivering lunch to children ages 1 to 18 in underserved areas of Santa Fe. A school bus will stop at three designated stops on a set schedule every weekday. At the designated meal site, a child will receive a nutritious lunch, including milk and fresh produce.

The program runs June 1 through Aug. 14. The three lunch sites identified include: Riverside de Santa Fe Mobile Home Park at 7460 Riverside Loop, Jemez Road Mobile Home Park at 3237 Jemez Rd. #40, and Country Club Gardens Mobile Home Park at 6151 Airport Rd.

“This program addresses an immediate need to an especially vulnerable part of Santa Fe’s community–children,”€ says Sherry Hooper, executive director of The Food Depot. “Working families already struggling to feed their children find their budgets stretched even farther during the summer months. They are challenged with replacing critically needed school meals. The Food Depot is committed to helping those low-income families.”

The program committee identified potential meal sites by researching areas that have schools with high rates of free or reduced school lunches and that do not have easy access to sites currently serving summer meals. The Food Depot hopes to reach 150 youth per day in the program’€™s first summer. Partners of The Food Depot with the Lunch Box Express program are: Santa Fe Public Schools, New Mexico Children, Youth and Families Department and Santa Fe County.

The Food Depot is committed to ending hunger in Northern New Mexico. As the food bank for nine Northern New Mexico counties, The Food Depot provides food to more than 145 nonprofit agencies including emergency food pantries, youth programs, senior centers, and shelters for battered persons. This service enables these agencies to stay focused on their primary missions such as sheltering homeless families, providing hot meals to the homebound and offering life skills development to youth. The food bank distributes an average of 400,000 pounds of food and household products each month, providing more than 335,000 meals to people in need–the most vulnerable of our community–children, seniors, working families and those in ill health.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture prohibits discrimination against its customers, employees, and applicants for employment on the bases of race, color, national origin, age, disability, sex, gender identity, religion, reprisal, and where applicable, political beliefs, marital status, familial or parental status, sexual orientation, or all or part of an individual’s income is derived from any public assistance program or protected genetic information in employment or in any program or activity conducted or funded by the Department. (Not all prohibited bases will apply to all programs and/or employment activities.) If you wish to file a Civil Rights complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, found online at http://www.ascr.usda.gov/complaint_filing_cust.html, or at any USDA office, or call (866) 632-9992 to request the form. You may also write a letter containing all of the information requested in the form. Send your completed complaint form or letter to us by mail at U.S. Department of Agriculture, Director, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410, by fax (202) 690-7442 or email at program.intake@usda.gov . Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339; or (800) 845-6136 (Spanish). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. For more information call: Sherry Hooper at (505) 471-1633, X10 Sponsoring Organization Contact Name and Telephone Number

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