SAINT PAUL, MN – Saint Paul Public Schools rolls out its new food truck to serve up free meals and books to children 18 and younger during a Summer Food Service Program kick-off event Thursday.

The event runs from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Arlington Hills Community Center, 1200 Payne Ave., St. Paul.

During the “Lunch and Literacy” event, the school district, the Minnesota Department of Education and the United States Department of Agriculture aim to raise awareness about the summer meals program. Many Minnesota families depend on the free or reduced-price meals their children eat at school during the school year. When school is out, the USDA Summer Food Service Program bridges the “nutrition gap.”

Connecting students with nutritious meals during the summer months is one of the many ways Minnesota is working to ensure kids are supported year-round. In 2014, nearly 700 Summer Food Service Program sites served 2.4 million meals to children 18 and younger.

SPPS, MDE, the USDA and community partners are all working to increase participation by raising the visibility of the program through events and, in Saint Paul Public Schools’ case, by the innovative use of a food truck.

Saint Paul Public Schools will provide free meals this summer to children 18 years old and younger, and people 19 years of age and older who have a mental or physical disability and who participate during the school year in a public or private nonprofit school program for the mentally or physically disabled.

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