A food links program through Penn State aims to help fill nutritional gaps in the community by offering free summer lunches to residents in the Centre Region.
From 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday and Friday through Aug. 23, free meals will be served to those 18 years old and younger.
A $2 fee for adults will be charged.
This year the program is being held at the outdoor picnic area at the State College Family YMCA, 677 W. Whitehall Road.
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“Our goal is to provide healthy meals to kids,” project manager Andrea Spadoni said.
Menu items include cold meat sandwiches, fruits and vegetables, cheese, bagged snacks, water and milk.
The Summer Food Service Program — federally funded and state administered — is similar to one offered through the Centre County YMCA to residents of Bald Eagle, Bellefonte, Penns Valley and Philipsburg-Osceola area school districts that is reimbursable through the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
“It’s been going on for a few years, and how it works is we purchase everything and we provide the food and submit for a reimbursement,” Spadoni said. “It’s filling a need in the community.”
Eligible communities for such programs are based on areas where there is 50 percent or more students eligible for free and reduced meals programs at school.
The program is facilitated by associate professor Lori Francis, and biobehavioral health students Nick Manzitti and Ashley Brubaker. Volunteers from St. Paul’s United Methodist Church in State College have also been helping, Spadoni said.