Beloved PSUSD “Lunch Lady” Happy to Serve Up Free Summer Meals

Beloved PSUSD “Lunch Lady” Happy to Serve Up Free Summer Meals

Kitty Alvarado Connect

Juanita Rodgers, known lovingly as the lunch lady, has been serving children lunch at the Palm Springs Unified School District for 21 years and she doesn’t take a break during the summer

“I just love it, I love serving the kids,” says Rodgers adding with tears in her eyes, “they just bring joy to my heart, it makes me want to cry.”

And without the Free Summer Meals program from PSUSD and people like Rodgers, many children in the valley who depend on school lunches would go hungry during the summer.

“I’ve had children say they didn’t want summer to start because they didn’t go on and explain, ‘Well then I won’t eat,’ but my guessing was they wouldn’t eat.”

The statistics are heartbreaking, according to No Hungry Kid, more than 12 million children in the U.S. are food insecure and 6 out of seven children who are food insecure will go hungry without school lunches.

“It breaks my heart but thank God we have this program to serve the children,” says Rodgers.

Over a dozen locations throughout the valley serve breakfast, lunch and new this year dinner.

“I’ve been telling people ever since I found out we’re having dinner in the park, come on out,” says an excited Rodgers.

Children and teens 18 and under eat free and their parents can join in for $5.00, and no one is ever turned away.

“No, nope everyone is welcome to come,” she says.

On this day they were having a BBQ and Rodgers says the meals are well balanced, “Five components, their fruits, their vegetables, their grains, their milk, they’re getting it all.”

And always served up with love.

“That’s my job, that’s what makes me happy, my soul’s happy, I‘m happy,” she says with a big, happy laugh. 

The free meals will be available at the following locations:
–Cathedral City High School, 69250 Dinah Shore Road, Cathedral City.
June 10-July 23. Breakfast, 7:30-8 a.m. Lunch, 11-11:30 a.m.
–Desert Hot Springs High School, 65850 Pierson Blvd, Desert Hot
Springs. June 20-July 5. Lunch, 11:30-11:55 a.m.
–Palm Springs High School, 2401 E. Baristo Road, Palm Springs. June
10-June 28, July 8-July 19.
–Rancho Mirage High School, 31001 Rattler Road, Rancho Mirage. June
10-June 21, July 1-July 23. Lunch, 11:00-11:30 a.m.
–Mt. San Jacinto High School, 30800 Landau Blvd, Cathedral City. June
10-June 21. Lunch, 11-11:30 a.m.
–Nellie Coffman Middle School, 34603 Plumley Road, Cathedral City.
July 29-Aug. 2. Lunch, 11-11:30 a.m.
–Painted Hills Middle School, 9250 Sonora Drive, Desert Hot Springs.
July 29-Aug. 2. Lunch, 11-11:30 a.m.
–James Workman Middle School, 69300 30th Ave, Cathedral City. July 29-
Aug. 2. Lunch, 11-11:30 a.m.
–Raymond Cree Middle School, 1011 Vista Chino Road, Palm Springs.
July 29-July 30. Breakfast, 8-8:30 a.m.
–James O. Jessie Desert Highland Unity Center, 480 Tramview Road,
Palm Springs. June 10-Aug. 2. Breakfast, 9-9:30 a.m. Lunch, 1-1:30 p.m.
–City of Palm Springs Pavilion, 402 S. Pavilion Way, Palm Springs.
June 10-Aug. 1. Lunch, 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Snack, 3:30-4 p.m.
–Boys and Girls Club of Cathedral City, 32141 Whispering Palms Trail,
Cathedral City. June 10-Aug. 2. Lunch, Noon-12:45 p.m. Snack, 3-3:30 p.m.
–Ocotillo Park, 33300 Moreno Road, Cathedral City. June 10-July 27.
Supper, 5:30-7 p.m.
–Boys and Girls Club of Mecca, 91391 66th Avenue, Mecca. June 10-Aug.
9. Breakfast, 9-9:30 a.m. Lunch 12:30-1:15 p.m.
–Boys and Girls Club of Coachella, 85350 Bagdad Ave, Coachella. June
10-Aug. 9. Lunch, 11-11:45 p.m.
–Thousand Palms Community Center, 31189 Roberts Road, Thousand Palms.
June 17-Aug. 2. Lunch, Noon-12:30 p.m.