LAKE STEVENS — A few kids peered through the windows in the double doors of the cafeteria at Sunnycrest Elementary School.
Mollie Langum smiled and waved to them. It was almost noon and Langum, the food and nutrition supervisor for the Lake Stevens School District, was about to open the doors.
This is the seventh summer of free lunches in Lake Stevens and the second at Sunnycrest.
It’s one of more than 40 locations around Snohomish County with free hot or cold meals for kids during summer break. Most are through the federal program that also supports free and reduced lunches during the school year. Nonprofits and community organizations have stepped in to bridge gaps. Some offer activities such as sports or mobile libraries alongside the meals.
The first wave of lunches in Lake Stevens on Wednesday brought elementary students wearing shorts and superhero T-shirts, along with toddlers in strollers.
“Take as much fruit and veggies as you want,” Langum encouraged one young girl, who was making her way past bins of vegetables, fruit and salad fixings.
Another group arrived just as the first families sat down and the kids started dipping carrots into salad dressing or eating the cornbread off their corn dogs.
“They just walk through the door and we’ll give them lunch,” Langum said. “They could be from anywhere … There’s a lot of kids we recognize from school, and some we’ve never seen before.”
Last summer, staff served between 60 and 90 kids a day at Sunnycrest. More than 50 showed up for the first lunch this summer.
Countywide, thousands of children are provided with summer meals. They do not have to do anything to qualify.
Summer meal programs aim to make sure kids have enough to eat during the long break from school. More than 40,000 students in Snohomish County qualify for free or reduced price lunch.
However, the summer meals aren’t just for low-income families. The food is free for children 18 and younger. Some locations allow adults to purchase meals for a few dollars.
“I think it’s great to give the opportunity for families, regardless of need, to come and enjoy an inviting atmosphere,” Langum said. “Plus, the parents can eat what their kids eat at school.”
Summer meal locations
June 25 to Aug. 23, Monday-Thursday
Martha Lake Baptist Church. Activities 10 a.m., lunch at noon.
Community Life Center. Activities 11 a.m., lunch at noon.
South Lynnwood Park. Activities and lunch at 11 a.m.
(Free for children, $4 for adults)
Cascade High School. July 2 to Aug. 10. Breakfast 7:15 a.m., lunch 10:15 a.m. Monday-Friday.
Emerson Elementary. July 9 to Aug. 9. Breakfast 9:15 a.m., lunch 1 p.m. Monday-Thursday.
Everett Boys and Girls Club. July 5 to Aug. 23. Lunch 11 a.m., snack 3 p.m. Monday-Friday.
Everett YMCA. July 6 to Aug. 23. Lunch 11:30 a.m. Monday-Friday.
Evergreen Middle School. July 9 to Aug. 9. Breakfast 8:15 a.m., lunch at noon Monday-Thursday.
Family Tree Apartments. July 9 to Aug. 23. Lunch at noon Monday-Friday.
Garfield Elementary. July 9 to Aug. 23. Breakfast 9:15 a.m., lunch 11:45 a.m. Monday-Friday.
Grandview Apartments. July 9 to Aug. 9. Lunch 11:45 a.m. Monday-Thursday.
Hawthorne Elementary. July 9 to Aug. 23. Breakfast 9:15 a.m., lunch 1 p.m. Monday-Friday.
Heatherwood Middle School. July 9 to Aug. 9. Breakfast 8:15 a.m., lunch noon Monday-Thursday.
Jackson Elementary. July 30 to Aug. 23. Lunch 11:30 a.m. Monday-Friday.
Lincoln Way Apartments. July 5 to Aug. 23. Lunch noon Monday-Friday.
Madison Elementary. July 9 to Aug. 9. Breakfast 9:15 a.m., lunch 1 p.m. Monday-Thursday.
Monroe Elementary. July 9 to Aug. 9. Breakfast 9:15 a.m., lunch 1 p.m. Monday-Thursday.
Pineview Apartments. July 9 to Aug.9. Lunch 12:45 p.m. Monday-Friday.
Whittier Elementary. July 9-27. Lunch 11 a.m. Monday-Friday.
Granite Falls Middle School. June 19 to Aug. 22. Lunch at noon Monday-Friday.
(Free for children, $3.75 for adults)
Sunnycrest Elementary. June 19 to Aug. 3. Lunch at noon Monday-Friday.
(Free for children, $4-$4.50 for adults)
Allen Creek, Cascade, Liberty and Shoultes elementary schools. June 25 to Aug. 17. Breakfast 9:40 a.m., lunch 12:30 p.m. Monday-Friday.
Quil Ceda Tulalip Elementary. June 25 to July 19. Breakfast 9:40 a.m., lunch 12:30 p.m. Monday-Thursday.
Beach Street Boys and Girls Club. June 25 to Aug. 17. Breakfast 8:30 a.m., lunch 11:30 a.m. Monday-Friday.
Wellington Apartments. July 2 to Aug. 17. Breakfast 9:45 a.m., lunch 1 p.m. Monday-Friday.
Cedar Grove Apartments. June 25 to Aug. 17. Lunch at noon. Tuesday, Thursday, Friday.
Marysville Pilchuck High School. June 21 to July 3. Breakfast 7:30 a.m., lunch 11 a.m. Monday-Friday.
Wagner Center on West Main Street. June 25 to Aug. 24. Lunch at noon Monday-Friday.
Challenger Elementary. July 9 to Aug. 3. Breakfast 8 a.m., lunch 12:30 p.m. Monday-Friday.
Horizon Elementary. July 9 to Aug. 17. Breakfast 10:30 a.m., lunch 2:30 p.m. Monday-Friday.
Voyager Middle School. July 9 to Aug. 17. Breakfast 8 a.m., lunch 12:30 a.m. Monday-Friday.
Sno-Isle TECH Skills Center. June 25 to July 16. Breakfast 9 a.m., lunch 11:30 a.m. Monday-Friday.
Walter Hall Park. June 26-28. Breakfast 8 a.m., lunch 11:15 a.m.
Kasch Park. July 2-3, breakfast 8:30 a.m. and lunch at noon; and July 31 to Aug. 3, breakfast 8 a.m. and lunch 11:15 a.m.
June 20 to Aug. 31, Monday-Friday
Snohomish High School. Breakfast 8:30 a.m., lunch 11:30 a.m.
Snohomish Boys and Girls Club. Breakfast 8:30 a.m., lunch 11:30 a.m.
Three Rivers Mobile Home Park. Lunch 11:15 a.m.
Circle H Mobile Home Park. Lunch at noon.
Snohomish Aquatic Center. Lunch 12:30 p.m.
(Free for children, $4.25 for adults)
Stanwood Elementary School. July 30 to Aug. 23. Lunch 11:30 a.m., snack 1:15 p.m. Monday-Thursday.
Sultan Middle School. July 16 to Aug. 9. Lunch 12:30 p.m. Monday-Friday.