Free Summer Lunch for Youth at Berkeley Public Library’s Central Library

images of vegetables with times and date info

Contact: Tess Mayer
Director of Library Services
Berkeley Public Library

Free Summer Lunch for Youth at Berkeley Public Library’s Central Library
Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 12noon-2pm until August 10

Berkeley, California (June 14, 2023) – Calling all youth eighteen (18) and under: come enjoy free lunch every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday this Summer at the Central Library on Kittredge, located between Shattuck and Milvia in downtown Berkeley. The Central Library is just a few steps away from Berkeley High School. Lunch is on the third floor in the Library’s Community Meeting Room.

In addition to lunch, youth can play board games, take home a free book, and engage in various other activities like LEGO free-play, crafts and creative writing.

On Tuesdays there will be a special art & crafts session with MOCHA (Museum of Children’s Art) from 1-3pm and on Thursdays from 12:30-1:30pm there will be weekly cooking shows on a variety of topics with AAVECafe; for example, today’s cooking show is “African Cuisine and the Roots of Juneteenth.”

Menus can be previewed on the Library’s event calendar and are designed to fulfill USDA nutrition standards.  Baby food pouches are available for babies and toddlers ages 6 months to 3 years, and snacks are available for caregivers, while supplies last. Note that children under the age of eight (8) should be accompanied by an adult.

“We know that food insecurity continues to be a concern for many families in Berkeley and summer time can exacerbate this issue, because kids and caregivers can't count on the regularity of meals provided in school during the school year,” notes Tess Mayer, Director of Library Services. “Being part of this important community program is just another way to welcome families and youth into our libraries.”

Elaine Tai, Supervising Librarian for Children’s Services at Berkeley Public Library echoes this, “we hope the Library serves as a fun space for tots, kids, tweens, and teens to be able to get lunch and enjoy fun activities throughout the summer.”

The Summer Food Service Program is a program of the U. S. Department of Agriculture, administered in California by the California Department of Education. The Library’s participation is funded in part by the California State Library’s Lunch at the Library grant program supported with funds from the State of California, and with meal sponsorship from Berkeley Unified School District (BUSD). Additional funds for supplies provided by the Friends of the Public Library.

“We are grateful for this opportunity to partner with Berkeley Public Library to provide free healthy nutritious lunches to our Berkeley youth,” says Bonnie Christenson, Director of Nutrition Services at the BUSD.

Events are wheelchair accessible. To request a sign language interpreter or other accessibility services, please call (510) 981-6195 (voice) or (510) 548-1240 (TTY). Please refrain from wearing scented products to public programs.

For questions regarding Lunch at the Library at Central, please call Elaine Tai at (510) 981-6231.

For questions about additional Library events, services, hours and locations, please call (510) 981-6100 or visit the Library’s website