Fuel Up For Summer Fun Celebrates Successful Season

Published : Wednesday, August 26, 2015 | 1:31 PM

Fuel Up for Summer Fun, Pasadena’s summertime free meals program, officially ended its 2015 run last weekend, just as kids were getting ready to go back to school.

Administered by the Pasadena Unified School District and supported by the city’s Human Services and Recreation Department, the program offered an estimated 4,000 free meals and snacks a day to children 18 and below, in 30 sites – six of Pasadena’s public parks, nine of PUSD’s school sites in the city, and schools in Altadena and Sierra Madre.

Special activities were also hosted, including free yoga and gardening classes, community BBQ’s, as well as a weekly food demo called “Tasty Tuesdays.”

Two Boys and Girls Club sites in Pasadena also offered their venues for use in the free meals program.

Pasadena City Councilmember Tyron Hampton, representing District 1, said the program that has been going on every summer for over a decade was very well marketed this year.

“It offered opportunities for local youth to fully engage through eating nutritious meals, building friendships, and participating in fitness activities,” Hampton said. “It is very important to me that young people in our community have nutritious meals not only to fuel their bodies, but their brains as well.”

He thanked the staff at PUSD, the Human Services and Recreation Department, and other offices that helped make this happen for the children and youth of Pasadena, Altadena, and Sierra Madre.

The Fuel Up for Summer Fun program is a “self-funding program,” according to Ralph Peschek, Food Services Director at PUSD.

“We receive reimbursement for each meal from the U.S. Department of Agriculture,” Peschek said. “As a self-supporting program, it assures that educational dollars are used for educating out students.”

Part of the funding for this year came from the National League of Cities (NLC) which awarded Pasadena’s Human Services Department $50,000 for use in streamlining after-school and summer meal programs for Pasadena-area children.

The League also provided customized technical assistance, access to best practices and national experts and opportunities for peer learning for the free meal programs.

Pasadena is one of 13 cities receiving the grants, ranging from $30,000 to $50,000, because of a continued commitment to combatting childhood hunger through year-round meal programs.

The continuing support shows the PUSD has developed “an identifiable brand for the summer meal programs,” Peschek said.

“Our hope is that when they see a Fuel Up for Summer Fun banner, flag, or poster, they will recognize it as a place where students are welcome all summer long to access programs, services, and meals when school is out.”


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