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Saturday, January 21, 2023

Summer break spots offer free food to hungry students

Marion County Public Schools reminds the community it offers nutritious meals so students are fueled to learn and grow in its summer meal program.

The Summer Food Service Program provides free, nutritionally-balanced meals to any student who wants to eat. Last year in Marion County, the program served 127,490 meals including 40,531 breakfasts, 72,260 lunches, 14,043 afternoon snacks, and 656 supper meals.

This year, from June 3 to July 25, 47 locations will provide meals on various schedules from 29 central school kitchens and 18 satellite locations throughout Marion County.

Participating schools include:

Anthony Elementary Howard Middle
Belleview Elementary Lake Weir High
Belleview High Lake Weir Middle
Belleview Middle Liberty Middle
Belleview-Santos Elementary Marion Oaks Elementary
Dunnellon Elementary North Marion High
Dunnellon High Oakcrest Elementary
Emerald Shores Elementary Ocala Springs Elementary
Evergreen Elementary Saddlewood Elementary
Forest High South Ocala Elementary
Ft McCoy Elementary/Middle Sunrise Elementary
Greenway Elementary Vanguard High
Hillcrest Ward-Highlands Elementary
Horizon Academy at Marion Oaks West Port High
Wyomina Park Elementary


Satellite feeding locations are serviced by the schools mentioned above and include:

Boys & Girls Club, Ocala Deer Run Apartments
Greater New Hope Church Ed Croskey Recreation Center
Homeschool HUB Forest Community Center
Howard Academy Ocala Police Department / Blessed Trinity
Lillian Bryant Center Parkside Garden Apartments
Mt. Zion United Methodist Church Shiloh Church
North Oak Baptist Church Shores Baptist Worship Center
Ocala Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Academy Silver River Museum
Omega Learning Center YMCA / St. Paul United Methodist Church


No application or income information is necessary to qualify; children simply show up to eat. Children 18 years and younger are eligible for meals without charge, including sandwiches, cereal, juice, fresh fruits and vegetables, milk, and cookies. Serving times vary by location.

The program is similar to the National School Lunch Program and offers nutritionally-balanced meals to needy children regardless of race, color, national origin, gender, or disability.

Marion County Public Schools operates the Summer Food Service Program through reimbursements from Florida’s Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

For more information, contact the Food Service Office at 352-671-4190. Families may also call the Hunger Hotline at 1-866-3-HUNGRY. Additional resources include www.marionschools.net/Domain/14546 and www.summerfoodflorida.org, dialing 2-1-1, and downloading the free “Nutrislice” mobile app for Apple and Android operating systems.