The day after Gloucester schools closed their doors, The Open Door opened its pantry and kicked off its Summer Meals for Kids program with a picnic at the Riverdale Park housing complex in Gloucester.

“There was a good turnout, a moon bounce and a DJ,” said Open Door Executive Director Julie LaFontaine.

This year, with partner Project Bread Summer Eats, The Open Door is launching a new mobile summer meals program at Riverdale Park and Willowood Gardens, she said. 

“We’ll be packing up our nutrition vans with good food, and then unpacking, and setting up a table, when kids can eat and leave,” she said. “Then we’ll pack up and move to the site and do it again.

“This follows a trend where we see the kids want to connect to the program but don’t want to spend a long time there, so we’re trying it out.”

Also new this year, LaFontaine said, is that The Open Door has contracted with a meal provider for the food served.

“This will allow us to focus our culinary efforts on special foods, and culinary activities for the kids,” she said.

The program will serve free summer meals to children through the age of 18 beginning this Thursday through Aug. 24 in most locations. 

Summer Meals for Kids is part of the federally funded Summer Food Service Program through the U.S. Department of Agriculture. It is sponsored by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. There will be no service on the Fourth of July.

The regular schedule for the weekday lunches includes:

Riverdale Park: 12:45 to 1:15 p.m.

Willowood Gardens: 11:45 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.

Camp Spindrift: 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Achievement Gap: July 2 to Aug. 17, breakfast 8:30 to 8:50 a.m., lunch noon to 12:45 p.m.

Beeman Elementary, Gloucester: July 9 to Aug. 16, breakfast 8 to 8:15 a.m.

Veterans Elementary, Gloucester: June 27 to Aug. 7; Monday through Thursday only, 11:25 a.m. to noon.

Agawam Village, Ipswich: June 25 to Aug. 24, noon to 1 p.m.

Family Supper at The Open Door: June 26 to Aug. 21; Tuesday evenings only, 4 to 5:30 p.m.

The Food Project at The Open Door: Wednesday, 12:45 to  1:15 p.m.

A full list of sites may be found at foodpantry.org.

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