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This is the time of year when kids face the most food insecurity. Schools are closed and many children lack access to nutritious meals. According to Feeding America, 22-percent of children in Fresno County are living in households that are unable to put food on the table consistently. Two programs of the Fresno Economic Opportunities Commission (Fresno EOC) are working to make sure youth continue to get fed. The agency’s Summer Food Service Program and the Paid Summer Internship Program have teamed up to provide meals in a welcoming and accessible environment.

The agency has two colorful Food Express Buses delivering free and healthy meals to children throughout Fresno and Fresno County. A green bus delivers to rural areas and the purple bus delivers within the City of Fresno, including the Parc Grove Commons apartment complex in Central Fresno.

When entering the Food Express Bus, children are greeted by young people employed by Fresno EOC’s Paid Summer Internship program. Aly Yang and Steelex Garcia are interns and college students who will be attending the University of the Pacific in the fall. Upon arrival at each site, Steelex ensures the food is safe to eat. “I take the temperature of the food. We have refrigerators and need to keep it at 40 degrees or below, or else we can’t serve it.”

Employees at Fresno EOC Food Services prepare the meals and ensure they meet strict United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and California Department of Education (CDE) nutrition guidelines.  Director of Food Services Jon Escobar says, “The meals are comprised of two ounces of protein, two servings of fruits and vegetables, one serving of bread, and eight ounces of milk.”

For the interns, the day starts at 8am when they load the bus with food and wraps up at 5pm. Parc Grove Commons is one of five stops, along their route in which they greet the children, serve them meals, then clean up afterward. Aly and Steelex are paid minimum wage for this summer internship.

Aly says it has been a rewarding, learning experience. “It’s fun having the kids come in. The kids were really nice and talkative. They’re really cute and the parents come in sometimes and help the kids eat their meals. It’s been fun.”

Meals are being provided weekdays through August 12 for all children up to 18 years of age. No eligibility documentation is needed.

The agency’s Summer Food Services Program delivers meals to five locations in the City and five locations in the County. Rural locations include Biola, Firebaugh, Mendota, San Joaquin, and Del Rey. Plus, the program caters to 29 fixed sites in Fresno, for a total of 39 sites. Click here to view all of the Summer Food Service sites.

About Fresno EOC Food Services

Fresno EOC Food Services provides healthy and nutritious meals to preschool and school-age children, youth and young adults, seniors, and organizations requiring catering services.
Food Services established operations in 1965, serving lunches to Head Start children and added the national Meals on Wheels Program in 1972. In the beginning, meals were prepared in satellite kitchens within the City of Fresno. But by October of 1985, the state-of-art Food Preparation Center (FPC) was opened. Food Services served 2,000 meals a day when the FPC opened and has grown to more than 7,000 meals daily.

About the Summer Internship Program

Fresno EOC offers a paid summer internship program for young people ages 17 – 24. The summer internship program is designed to target high school graduates transitioning into post-secondary education, offering them the opportunity to be mentored by a leader in their chosen industry.

Selected candidates participate in an employment readiness workshop focusing on job search skills and soft skills needed to be successful in today’s working world. This is an opportunity to be hands-on in the workforce within Fresno County.

  • Get up to 160 hours paid internship
  • Internship schedule is July through August. The deadline to sign up was June 30.

If you have any questions concerning the program or would like to offer an intern position, please call (559) 263-1100.

For media inquiries, please contact Claudia.solis@fresnoeoc.org.

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