Free summer meals program

Jun 29, 2023 | Education

Antonio and his brother, Jorge, enjoyed their breakfast at VOE Elementary School with their mother, Lorena. (Photo by Rhea-Frances Tetley)


This summer, the Rim of the World Unified School District is offering summer school educational programs at Lake Arrowhead Elementary School (LAE) and breakfast and lunch is included in the school day program. For those children who are not attending summer school, the district is also offering a breakfast and lunch program option at Valley of Enchantment Elementary School (VOE), which began on June 12 and continues through July 12, on school days.

This is a new program, offered through the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP), a federally funded, state-administered program that serves no-cost, healthy meals and snacks to children and teens. Breakfast is served from 8 to 8:45 a.m. and lunch is from noon to 1 p.m. at VOE.

On a recent Tuesday there was fun Disney music playing to give it a festive and welcoming atmosphere. Regina Faulkner, who works at the MPH cafeteria during the school year, was serving the meals.  She had a 30-year background in the food industry before coming to the mountain eight years ago and enjoys the students. She is thrilled to be living in a small-town community and she welcomes all to come to these free meals at the school.

The Alatorre family plans to avail themselves of the summer breakfast and lunch program as often as possible. Two of the boys were at VOE, enjoying breakfast with their mother, Lorena. Antonio, 6, is going into first grade this next year and was happily enjoying his breakfast. His older brother, Jorge, who was in Ms. Nicholson’s third-grade classroom last year, said he is excited about going fishing and to the beach again this summer. His favorite subject in school is reading and he is excited he will be studying California history next year in school.

Both boys received attendance awards for the last school year. Their three sisters chose to take the school bus to attend summer school classes at LAE and will also be getting meals there. The district is stepping up to be sure all school age children, whether vacationers or residents, will have the opportunity to have two nutritious meals each weekday through July 12. This is also a brief way for them to socialize with friends they may be missing with school out for the summer.

The Alatorre family has lived on the mountain for the past four years, moving here from San Diego. The children have enjoyed the numerous school activities and like living in the mountains, with the many things to do, and the PTA was amazing this last year in offering support to the students through the blizzard and before and after, said Lorena. “I really like living in this small town. When the weather is nice, we enjoy walking and fishing at the lake, too.”

The lunches will also be enjoyed by the Rim of the World Recreation and Park District’s summer day camp program, which is also taking place at VOE in their building next to the playground. Parents whose children are enrolled can take them to the breakfasts before dropping them off at day camp. There are still openings for kids in that Rim Rec summer camp program; parents can register them at

This is the first year Rim has been a “Community Eligibility Program” district, so all children eat free, regardless of income, under California’s new Universal Meal Program. At this time, the district is unaware of how many children. other than those in summer school, will take part in the program, but it is hoped that this program will grow, so the district is trying to get the word out and encouraging more to participate.

“It’s an awesome program that will help us get meals to our kiddos,” said Jenny Haberlin, Rim’s chief business officer.

The menus for both meals have already been created. The lunches range from chicken patties or turkey sandwiches to burritos, pizza and corn dogs. There will be fresh fruit at breakfast, with waffles, cold cereals, muffins and French toast sticks. Of course, milk and chocolate milk will be available for every meal. The meals are served the same days that summer school classes are in session. No pre-registration is required for the meals, and they are served on a drop-in basis.

For more information on the program, visit


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