CHEROKEE - The National School Lunch Program helps to ensure millions of children across the country are able to eat school lunch, but the summer poses a new challenge.
USD 247 will begin operating a summer camp this year, and will provide breakfast and lunch alongside the camp, but not just to those participating in the camp.
“Any child under the age of 19 can come and eat,” said Korey Kimrey, USD 247 Food Service Directory.
Kimrey said adults also may eat for a fee, but the program is targeted toward ensuring children have nutritious food options even when they don’t have school.
“This is an outreach to our children,” he said.
Kimrey said the program also will not come out of the district’s budget, but rather is reimbursed through a federal program.
“It is federally funded in the same way as the National School Lunch Program is being funded,” he said. “The economics in our area make us site-eligible.”
“The basis for the whole summer food program is that school ends, but the need to feed those children does not end,” Kimrey said. “This really is a way to keep them nutritionally sound.”
Kimrey said children who have nutritious food options throughout the summer tend to return in August with more of a aptitude for learning, and that it is important to ensure the children are healthy.
Kimrey said the program is getting good feedback as it gears up.
“It seems like there’s a lot of excitement from what I’m hearing from people in the communities,” he said.
Kimrey said it is handy to be launching the summer program and camps simultaneously.
“I think that our superintendent knew quite a while ago that we were looking at the summer school,” Kimrey said, adding that if the children are there to learn they also will need to be fed.
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“It’s all very new, but exciting, and I’m glad to do it,” he said.
The meals, which will be served Monday through Thursday June 3 through Aug. 8, will serve communities beyond Cherokee through multiple locations and shuttles.
Southeast High School will serve breakfast from 8-8:45 a.m. and lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and a shuttle will stop in Weir, West Mineral and Cherokee to pick up children who want to participate.
Lunch will be served at McCune Elementary from noon to 1 p.m. on the same days.
Summer breakfasts will consist of milk, a veggie, fruit or juice, a serving of grains and an optional meat or meat alternative.
Lunches will include a serving of milk, two or more servings of fruits or vegetables, one serving of grains and one serving of meat or meat alternative.