Parkview Elementary School cafeteria employee Joe Olguin hands out lunches at Sedillo Park, across the street from Parkview Elementary School.
Juan Baeza | El Defensor Chieftain photos

Free breakfasts and lunches are available for anyone 18 and under through the Socorro summer food program.

The meals are not tied to the school locations, so whether a family has students who attend the school or not, they can get a meal. The child does have to be present to pick up the food.

“It’s not often that we can reach out and not have that sticker of ‘you have to attend our school,’” said Bonnie Hoke, who is in charge of the summer feeding program for the Socorro Consolidated School District. “It makes it a little freer and we reach more people and we help as many people as we can.”

Socorro Consolidated School District offers free meals with the summer food program. Anyone ages 1 to 18 can get free breakfast and lunch through the program.

This year is a bridge year between the expanded feeding program offered due to the pandemic and returning to the regular lunch programs, which have more restrictions on who the schools can feed. Earlier in the pandemic, the district was allowed to bundle up meals during holidays and weekends to send students home with food for multiple meals.

“That was really nice to help our families,” said Hoke.

The district is no longer allowed to bundle multiple meals for one child, but they are still able to feed any child, regardless of whether they are a student in the school district.

The district has a third-party food service management, Southwest Food Service Excellence, and tries to offer hot meals as often as possible. If someone has dietary needs, the district can accommodate that and make sure there’s still meals available for them through the summer feeding program, said Hoke.

The summer feeding program helps ensure students get meals on a regular basis and helps make sure summer school students are ready to learn.

“It’s just a nice outreach with our students and the families and the other community, because it’s not just our students we’re serving. It is members of the community. It doesn’t matter what school they go to or whatnot, whether it’s Magdalena and they’re coming down and grabbing a meal,” said Hoke.

Meals are available at eight sites: Cottonwood Valley Charter School; Parkview Elementary School (located at the park across the street); Sarracino Middle School (on the back patio); San Antonio Elementary, in front of the school; Socorro High School, on the south side patio; Midway Elementary School, at the parent drop off point; NMIMT Performing Arts, 909 Olive Lan, Socorro (in the parking area south of the building); NMGRADS, 310 Fisher Avenue, Socorro, under the large tree west of the building.

Breakfast is served 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. and lunch is noon to 1 p.m. The program runs through July 29, with the exception of July 4.