For the sixth summer in a row, a handful of Baltimore County Public Library branches will serve free boxed lunches on weekdays to anyone under 18 who asks for one.
The free lunch program begins Thursday, June 20, and continues until Aug. 23. The nine branches offering free lunches — Arbutus, Essex, Lansdowne, Loch Raven, North Point, Randallstown, Rosedale, White Marsh and Woodlawn — have slightly different start and end times.
About 43 percent of Baltimore County schoolchildren are eligible for free or reduced-priced lunches, according to the latest published data from the school system. The library system provides free lunches in order to help keep children fed over the summer, which can be a time of food insecurity for those who depend on school meals.
To that end, library branches must be in Title I communities, meaning they have a high percentage of children from low-income families, to qualify for the program.
The program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service and does not cost BCPL anything, said Erica Palmisano, a spokeswoman for the library system.
The lunches are typically a sandwich, a piece of fruit, a snack and a drink, she said. The meals are open to any child under the age of 18, but the program is not intended for groups or day care centers.
The full list of branches, times and locations for free lunches:
Arbutus Branch, 12 p.m., 855 Sulphur Spring Road, 21227