Kathy DelTonto, food service director for the district, said for some children, a meal at school is their only decent meal of the day, and the district didn’t want those kids to go hungry.
“We have seen an increase in free and reduced lunch applications through the year and felt the need was there,” she said.
Both breakfast and lunch will be served at summer school campuses at Olathe Elementary in Olathe and Centennial Middle School in Montrose. Northside Elementary, which has no summer school, will only serve lunch.
About 400 kids will attend summer school and projections for the all-inclusive summer meal program will bring the total number of kids fed to about 1,200, she said.
DelTonto encourages kids who are in programs such as Black Canyon Boys and Girls Club, church programs and day care centers to take advantage of the free meal program. For more information, she can be reached at 252-7912 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
The meal program is open to anyone between the ages of one and 18, DelTonto said, and is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Summer Food Service Program.
Meals will be served Monday through Thursday, she said, with the following schedule:
• Olathe Elementary will serve breakfast from 7:30 a.m. to 8 a.m.
• Olathe Elementary will serve lunch from 12 noon to 12:45 p.m.
• Northside Elementary will serve lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
• Centennial Middle School will serve breakfast from 8 a.m. to 8:30 a.m.
• Centennial Middle School will serve lunch from 12 noon to 12:45 p.m.
DelTonto said she’s gotten positive feedback about the free meal program from local children’s groups, and any child can go to any of the schools offering the meals. The only qualification is that they have to be able to eat table food; no special meals will be prepared.
The need for good meals for kids is huge in this area, DelTonto said, and the school district is taking on that task this summer.
“Any time the school can take on that responsibility to support students and their families, I think we should,” she said.
The free meal program will be expanded to more locations next summer, DelTonto said, and the trend is growing in some other districts.
“Grand Junction added eight new sites this year, but Delta (County) has no program at all,” she said.