Struggling Mid-Columbia families that depend on schools to provide breakfasts and lunches for their children during the school year will still have them in the coming summer months.
All three Tri-City school districts will offer summer meal programs while classes are out, district officials said. The programs will not cover every weekday of summer vacation but will still provide a safety net so children won't go hungry.
"Our summer food programs are very well attended," said spokeswoman Leslee Caul with the Pasco School District.
There were 13,478 applications filed by Franklin County families for free and reduced-price meals in 2013. Another 17,617 were filed last year in Benton County.
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Tri-City schools have differing amounts of poverty but some have enrollments where nine of 10 students are receiving free or reduced-price meals.
Only schools where at least 50 percent of the students have their meals covered will qualify for the federally subsidized summer food program.
Pasco will offer breakfast and lunch at Pasco and Chiawana high schools and several other schools throughout the summer for any child under 18, Caul said.
It also will serve meals at Memorial Park, traditionally the district's most attended summer meal location.
Tapteal, Jefferson and Marcus Whitman elementary schools in Richland will offer meals.
Kennewick school officials said they estimate they'll serve about 15,000 breakfasts and 27,000 lunches this summer at 11 schools where there will be summer meal programs.
-- Ty Beaver: 509-582-1402; firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @_tybeaver; Google+: +TyBeaverTCHerald