Green River Star -

By Stephanie Thompson
People Editor 

GR kids can receive free lunches

 


Green River children still have time to take advantage of the school’s summer free lunch program.

For a second year, Sweetwater County School District No. 2 offers free lunches and breakfast for kids and teenagers.

“It’s open to anybody who wants to come. You don’t have to be a family in need to participate,” district Nutrition Service Director Linda Martin said.

This is the first year this program is taking place at three elementary schools, Jackson, Truman and Wilson. Jackson is also serving free breakfasts this year.

“It gives me great joy to be able to provide meals at three locations this year,” Martin said. “There is obviously a need in our community due to the downturn in our economy. Many families are taking advantage of the free meals for their students this summer.”

During this year’s first two weeks, the program saw an increase of 31 percent, Martin said. In June, which was only 19 days, the district served 5,956 meals.

“It’s about doubled,” Martin said. “Opening up Truman made a big difference.”

The location of this school is why the district is seeing such an increase. Truman alone is averaging 125 meals served per day. What’s also unique about Truman is it is not only offering sack lunches, but hot lunches too. Children have the option to pick between the hot or cold lunch.

Breakfast items include cereal, yogurt, raisins, breakfast bars, milk and juice. Sack lunches provided at the schools include different sandwiches, Sun Chips, fruit, carrots and milk. Sack lunches are portable and easy for children to take with them. Hot lunches will have items like hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken nuggets or pizza.

“Anything that’s easy for them to pick up and munch on,” Martin said.

Although the flyer says children three to 18 can participate, Martin said if a child is capable of eating a sandwich, they can have a sack lunch too. She said she didn’t want a two-year-old brother or sister to go without lunch, if they can eat it.

Parents can also eat a lunch, but it will cost $2.50.

The purpose of the program is to make sure children who are hungry have a place to eat in the summer. Having a sack lunch is a convenient way to do this.

“Walk in the door; and we’ll hand it to you no questions asked,” Martin said.

This program is also helping families with parents who both work during the day with kids who are old enough to stay home alone, but need something for lunch.

Martin said the kids coming to eat the lunches like it because it’s a chance for them to get to see their friends. Martin said the program isn’t just for families either, any child in the district can eat for free. This includes daycare children, youth camps, or vacation bible school participants.

The best part of the whole program, is it is free to the district.

Martin secured help from a Federal Grant program known as AmeriCorps VISTA. This program was founded in 1965 to help fight poverty across America. Another perk to the program was it allowed Martin the funding to hire Kris Slute as the summer associate to help prepare and serve the meals.

“The AmeriCorps VISTA program has been a great asset to our program. Kris is a wonderful addition to our staff. The additional help allows us to provide even more for our students,” she said.

Summer lunches will continue until Aug. 5.

Locations

Jackson Elementary School -- Monday through Friday until Aug. 5,

Breakfast is from 7:30-8:30 a.m.

Lunch is from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Sack lunch only.

Truman Elementary School -- Monday through Friday until Aug. 5

Lunch is from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Hot lunch and sack lunches.

Wilson Elementary School -- Monday through Friday until Aug. 5

Lunch is from 11a.m. to 1 p.m. Sack lunches only.

 

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