Programs feed area families this summer

OSCEOLA COUNTY - Osceola County is home to many families that rely on the free or reduced meals provided during the school year.

Thanks to a program developed by the USDA that partners with local organizations, free lunch doesn’t have to end when class lets out.  A sponsor site, such as a school, church or camp, makes free meals available to children 18 years of age and under or persons up to age 26 who are enrolled in an educational program for the mentally or physically disabled that is recognized by a state or local public educational agency.  Adults are able to purchase meals for a low cost, around $3.25.

The summer food program was set up to provide children with a healthy meal during the summer which helps parents stretch food dollars. It also provides food service workers with greatly needed summer jobs.  The USDA reimburses these sponsors for all meals served.

  • G.T. Norman Elementary in Reed City will be serving lunch on weekdays from 11am -1230pm, starting June 11th and continuing through August 24th.  The cafeteria will be closed on July 3rd and 4th.   Genie Knapp, head of dietary services at RCAPS, states they served 5492 children and 471 adults last summer.  Children going to the Summer Adventure program enjoy the delicious lunch before heading off on field trips.
  • Evart Middle School is another site for free lunch.  Sheryl Sherman, dietary supervisor at Evart Middle School, comments,” Our numbers were a little down last summer due to the move from the elementary school, but hopefully this year with people being aware, they will start coming in.”  Lunches are served from 1130am -1230pm, June 11th through August 17th, also being closed on July 4th. An estimated 60 children per day went through the lunch line.
  • Marion School district serves both breakfast and lunch. “We average about 75 children per day.  A lot of people take advantage of our program, including daycares in town.  They all just walk down for a meal.”, states Diana Salisbury. Breakfast is served at the High School, June 18th through August 17th, from 830 to 930am.  Lunch is at the elementary school during the same dates, from 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

Every site has menus available to take home.  It’s no surprise that the last place some children want to be during the summer months is back at school, but for a free delicious breakfast or lunch it’s well worth the trip.