Beginning May 26 and ending Aug. 7, free summer meals will be provided to all children 1 to 18 years old who are present at meal service locations and in line to be served. Meals will be provided at the following locations/scheduled times in Rio Rancho:
* Available Monday through Friday with the exception of Friday, July 3
* Boys and Girls Club of Rio Rancho, 4600 Sundt Road (breakfast from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. and lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.)
* Haynes Park, 2006 Grande Blvd. (breakfast from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. and lunch from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.)
* Leon Grande Park, 4501 Leon Grande Blvd. (lunch from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.)
* North Hills Park, 1901 Strawberry Drive (lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.)
* Rainbow Pool facility, 301 Southern Blvd. (lunch from 11:00 a.m. to 1 p.m.)
* Star Heights Recreation Center, 800 Polaris Blvd. (breakfast from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. and lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.)
* Meals provided on a first-come, first-served basis
* All meals must be consumed on-site
Lunches that are served follow current U.S. Department of Agriculture guidelines, which include a daily serving of milk, vegetable or fruit juice, daily meat sandwich or meat alternate such as chicken nuggets, daily grains/breads or crackers, and a daily serving of either fruit or vegetables. Breakfasts that will be available also follow U.S. Department of Agriculture recommendations, which include a daily serving of milk, fruit and/or vegetable, grains/breads, and meat or meat alternatives such as yogurt.
The Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) is a federally funded program operated nationally by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and administered at the state level by the New Mexico Children, Youth and Families Department. The city of Rio Rancho, which applied to be a local sponsor of the program, receives funding from the SFSP to purchase lunches and breakfasts and distribute them to children. Meals are prepared and purchased from Rio Rancho Public Schools and Sodexo.
During the school year, nutritious meals are available for children through the National School Lunch and School Breakfast programs. However, those programs end when school lets out for the summer. SFSP helps children in lower income areas get the nutrition they need to learn, play and grow throughout the summer months when school is not in session. The meal sites that will be utilized are in close proximity to Rio Rancho schools where 50 percent of the student body qualifies for free or reduced-price school meals.
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).
The SFSP was launched in Rio Rancho in 2009, and 25,513 lunches were served. In 2010, the program expanded to include breakfast service. Last year, 10,499 breakfasts and 34,874 lunches were provided.
Rio Rancho’s breakfast and lunch program has been honored previously by the state’s Children, Youth and Families Department with several awards which included recognition as the state’s program of the year, excellence in program record keeping, extraordinary monitoring efforts, outstanding outreach efforts, and for outstanding efforts to increase total meals served.
For additional information about SFSP, please call the City’s Parks, Recreation and Community Services Department at (505) 891-5015. For more information about the City of Rio Rancho, visit http://www.ci.rio-rancho.nm.us. Follow the City on Twitter (twitter.com/RioRanchoNM), and like it on Facebook (facebook.com/RioRanchoGov).