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Free Summer Lunch for Children


Free Summer Lunch for Children

Now in its 10th year, The Redwood Empire Food Bank’s (REFB) Con-Agra Foundation Hunger-Free Summer Program is opening sites in early June throughout Sonoma County to distribute fresh meals prepared daily to low-income children.

30,000 low-income children rely on school lunches for much of their daily nutrition during the school year, and often miss meals during summer vacation. Thanks to the REFB they can be sure to find a healthy lunch at one of the “Hunger-Free Summer” sites. 

When the program began, about 20,000 children were eligible for free or reduced price school lunches. This year, the number has risen to more than 30,000. Last year alone, the summer lunch sites served over 102,000 meals, and that number is expected to rise this year.

“There is an increased risk of hunger during the summer when school is out of session. Summer Lunch is the REFB’s direct response to ensure that local children have access to healthy meals,” said Itzul Gutierrez, REFB Programs Manager. “Obtaining a meal is easy. No paperwork or sign-up is required. The program serves any child under 18 years of age,” Gutierrez concluded.

Volunteers are still needed to serve up healthy meals and oversee fun educational activities this summer. The Hunger-Free Summer Program includes garden based nutrition activities where children will be introduced to vegetable gardening and the benefits of eating healthy and fresh food. Recreational activities will be offered at some sites.

Redwood Empire Food Bank - FREE Summer Lunch Program

Beginning June 3rd and running through August 9th the REFB and participating agencies will be serving lunches at 46 sites.  For a site near you, call 2-1-1, the Sonoma County Resource Directory line, or the Redwood Empire Food Bank, at 523-7900. Sites and times are subject to change.

For more information on this program, contact Vanessa Bautista, REFB Community Programs Coordinator, at 523-7900, ext. 155, or e-mail


About Redwood Empire Food Bank

The Redwood Empire Food Bank (REFB) is the largest hunger-relief organization serving north coastal California from Sonoma County to the Oregon border. Since 1987, the REFB has fed hungry people, currently serving 78,000 children, families and seniors each month in Sonoma County, while striving to end hunger in our community. The REFB collaborates with local and regional partners to obtain and distribute 13 million pounds of food annually, the equivalent of 28,800 meals every day. It is also the primary resource for hunger relief agencies in Lake, Mendocino, Humboldt and Del Norte counties.  Visit or call 707-523-7900 to learn more.