(Almost) Free Summer Programs for Low-Income Families - 510 Families
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(Almost) Free Summer Programs for Low-Income Families

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Summer camp doesn’t squeeze into everyone’s budget, so we were inspired to create a list of programs that welcome kids for a free lunch and some fun, structured activities they can share with a peer group.

School Age Girls
Photo by Di Lewis from Pexels

Free summer activities for children

City of Berkeley Playground Program

Kids will do outdoor sports, arts and crafts, play games, and be supervised by trained City of Berkeley staff at one of two locations. Advance registration required. Sessions are 3-weeks long.
Ages: 5-12
Dates: June 7 – Aug 6, split into three 3-week sessions, Monday through Friday
Cost: $5/week for Berkeley residents; $10/week for non-residents
Register at MLK/YAP at 1730 Oregon Street.
Low-income families have priority registration prior to June 1. Online registration will be available after June 1.
Locations: Grove Park and Strawberry Creek Park
Call: 510.981.6674
Register >

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2 thoughts on “(Almost) Free Summer Programs for Low-Income Families”

  1. Important to note that free summer lunch is not just for low-income students or families. It is provided to all people 18 & under at most listed sites, with no proof of residency or income status required. For example, a teen babysitter could take a couple kids, and they can all get lunch. Undocumented children and teens can also get lunch, and students from other districts.

    We have visited the Berkeley Summer Lunch a couple times over the years, but most frequently gone to the WCCUSD sites (not yet announced for 2019, and not covered in this post). I have learned you have to show up early in the stated window, and most programs require the children to eat on site (so they know the food is going to youth) and no adults eating/sharing. Definitely some site supervisors are more strict than others about eating there. Some WCCUSD sites also offer breakfast, under the same terms. The library sites in the Contra Costa system tend to have very skimpy lunches (because of lack of space, I think), while the cafeteria sites tend to provide much more. I have also been to a site out of town and they provided a combo breakfast/lunch… you never know what you’re going to get, so keep your expectations low and give it a try. It’s worth checking out if the schedule works for your family.

  2. AACE summer camp by Peralta Hacienda in Oakland is also free. So is the National Society of Black Engineers’ SEED camp in Oakland.

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