Sitting at a picnic table with her siblings, Anahi Trejo, 8, took bites of a bologna and cheese sandwich and slurped chocolate milk.
Nearby, the yellow school bus was parked that had brought their meal and will deliver free breakfast and lunch five days a week this summer to any child under 18.
Hillsborough County school buses will provide summer meals at this location and seven others in migrant communities where families might have trouble reaching one of the many school sites that offer free summer meals.
Anahi’s family lives in Plant City, but her mother — Lorena Ponce — comes to the mission to take English classes. She plans to bring Anahi, her 4-year-old brother Danny and 2-year-old sister Jacquelyn to eat there every day.
“It’s great because sometimes we have little work and the money is too tight,” said Ponce, who cleans houses for a living. Her husband has a job in construction.
During the academic year, many children from low-income families get their only nutritious meals at school, where they are eligible for free or reduced-price breakfast and lunch. Summertime can add stress for families who are already struggling to make ends meet.
Each summer, the school district serves more than 200,000 breakfasts and 300,000 lunches at its feeding sites, which include places with summer school programs and camps.
The bus program — Movin’ Meals — was added to the mix three summers ago, with four sites.
“Families are struggling and they’re unable to offer their children a full nutritious meal,” said Ginain Grayes, a spokeswoman for the district’s student nutrition services department.