Free Supper Program

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BALDWIN PARK, CA — Since August 29, Baldwin Park Braves have been partaking in the district-wide free supper program that offers a free meal to all students from 3:00 PM to 3:30 PM.

Free supper programs have been actively implemented into school districts nationwide since the passage of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act in 2010. The act aimed to benefit specifically low-income communities but gained a larger purpose to provide nutritious meals for students to ensure that their educational lives would not be affected by hunger.

According to Lana Apodaca, the kitchen manager for Baldwin Park High School, the free supper program has been available for younger students in the Baldwin Park Unified School District and only reached the high school level this year. The program was first proposed by Rosa Estrella, the Nutrition Department Director of the BPUSD.

“The district started [the program] in the elementaries last year or even the year before, and it’s worked very well,” explained Mrs. Apodaca. “So we wanted to try it at the higher levels too.”

Since August 29, an estimated 150 to 200 students showed up to the snack bar lines after school each day to partake in the free supper program. Still, Mrs. Apodaca expressed her hope for the numbers to increase because she believes all students can benefit from this program.

“For them [student athletes], it’s awesome because they can get a little snack before they start sports,” Mrs. Apodaca provided as an example. “Sometimes, like I say, they’re there from five to six, and they don’t get anything, unless they bring it in their backpack.”

Mrs. Apodaca was also able to provide an unexpected fun fact about the most popular item on the free supper menu.

“Plus, [the students] get a free bottle of water,” she stated, “and the kids are loving that.”

Mrs. Apodaca hopes that more students will choose to partake in the program and get a free healthy and warm meal after a long day at school.

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