PLANT CITY The Plant City branch of the Tampa Metropolitan Area YMCA is participating in a nationwide endeavor to ensure that children do not go hungry this summer.
Kids ages 5 to 18 can receive free breakfasts and lunches Monday-Friday at the Plant City Family YMCA, 1507 YMCA Place. Breakfast will be offered from 8 to 9 a.m. and lunch will be available from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The program runs through Aug. 15.
Children don’t have to be YMCA members to participate.
It is the second year the Tampa Metropolitan Area YMCA has participated in the national summer food program, which is funded locally through a $35,000 Walmart Foundation grant.
Last year the program was able to provide 4 million meals nationwide to children; this year the goal has been set for 5 million, said Lalita Llerena, communications director for the Tampa Metropolitan Area YMCA.
Locally, she said the program was successful last year but Y officials are hoping to serve even more this year.
“We would love for more people to be aware of it,” she said.
The goal is to provide a place for kids to receive free breakfast and lunch during summer when schools are closed, promoting health and wellness in the community, said Ashley Sorensen, executive director of the Northwest Hillsborough Family YMCA.
“The Y is committed to youth development, healthy living and social responsibility and is working to ensure all kids have access to meals as well as healthy food options, so they can continue to be healthy and thrive when out of school,” Sorensen said.
The program will provide free meals along with fun activities to keep kids’ minds and bodies active, Sorenson said.
Besides Plant City, other participating Tampa area locations include Northwest Hillsborough YMCA, Bob Sierra YMCA, New Tampa Family YMCA, Bob Gilbertson Central City YMCA, Sulphur Springs YMCA, YMCA Camp Christina and North Brandon Family YMCA.
For more information on the summer food program or for participating branches go to www.ymca.net/summerfood or call the Plant City Family YMCA at (813) 757-6677.