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Schools’ summer food program wins award

A San Diego Unified School District summer food service program won a federal award for outstanding service to underprivileged children, it was announced Tuesday.

The district’s “Summer Fun Cafe” was given a 2009 Sunshine Award by the federal Department of Agriculture for the second year in a row.

The SDUSD partnered with the San Diego Food Bank to distribute nearly 40 tons of food and vegetables to low-income families, serving around 25,000 needy children at 67 sites.

“Summer Fun Cafe” included 23 barbecue events for children.

The Department of Agriculture runs a summer food program to make sure underprivileged children receive at least one nutritious meal per day when school is not normally in session.

Three programs in California received awards.

“California has seen a marked increase in the number of children participating in the free and reduced-priced meals program during the school year because of the tough economic times” said Jack O’Connell, the state’s superintendent of public instruction.

“Yet during the summer, millions of children are eligible for summer meal programs, but only a fraction of them take advantage of it.”

The San Diego program has run for six years, and doesn’t require enrollment, paperwork or income qualifications, with children aged 2-18 welcomed.