YMCA program offers free summer lunches to eligible kids in 3 counties

"These programs feed tens of thousands of children a day across the county", Dave Palmer, marketing consultant, said.

"Eating a nutritious breakfast and lunch is essential to a child's development, and the Summer Meals program helps ensure students return to school in September focused and ready to learn", said City Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina.

Past year 7.5 million free meals were distributed by the DOE's summer meals program, an increase of 400,000 compared to 2011, department officials said Thursday.

More than 5,500 children a day in Edgecombe County receive free meals during the school year, but many of these children do not get enough to eat when school is out.

Vista Unified School District has participated in the summer lunch program for more than five years. Children 18 and under eat the meals for free, and in this area adults may buy meals for a small fee. "We know that more children can be served and provided with access to healthy meals at no cost".

Depending on the site, fresh hot or refrigerated lunches are served Monday through Friday.

Branch director Mel Curtis said the program expanded a few years later to include BEA, Bellefonte, Penns Valley, Moshannon Valley and West Branch area school districts.

Sites are eligible to serve the meals if they qualify as schools with at least 50 percent of the student population eligible for free and reduced lunch, Clements explained.

"If we were to lose the funding, we'd have to find a way", Parker said.

"We're really grateful, especially for big organizations like the Boys & Girls Club who come out and support (the program)", she said. "Last year the Summer Feeding program served nearly 48,000 meals". Over the past decade, Vermont has seen consistent growth in the SFSP among low-income children despite declining overall school enrollment.

McPhee said the Meridian Public School District has used social media - specifically the district's Facebook page - to promote the lunches, as well as phone alerts to parents and other outreach efforts.

  • Joanne Flowers