Los Angeles County parks begin summer lunch program today

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The annual summer free lunch program for kids and teens begins today at some Los Angeles County parks and recreation centers.

Fifty-eight of the county’s parks will offer lunches that include a sandwich, chips, fruit, a vegetable and milk.

"It’s free for everyone from any area who would come to that park on that day at noon and get in line for their lunch. They’re more than welcome to be there and enjoy that with us," said Gary Liebsack, Regional Director of Recreation for the L.A. County Department of Parks and Recreation.

Liebsack’s department expects to serve abuot 220,000 lunches and afternoon snacks this summer to kids and teens under 18.

"These resources are vital," said Matt Sharp, with the nonprofit advocacy organization, California Food Policy Advocates. Several schools have had to cancel summer classes this year because of budget cuts. That makes it difficult for families who rely on subsidized meals.

"Fortunately, both the school district and a number of the parks programs in the city and county have stepped forward to offer free lunches and enrichment programs at a variety of sites throughout the county," said Sharp.

To find a free lunch program in the city of Los Angeles, call 2-1-1. For L.A. County park lunches, the phone number is 310-965-8227. And for information about summer lunches served at Los Angeles schools, contact the Los Angeles Unified School District.