When people hear about free feeding programs, they presume it to be a program geared toward low-income households.
For the summer meal program, June 6 through July 26, the Fort Campbell Schools’ Food Service will feed all children younger than 18 years old, regardless of their parent’s income, during the summer. The meal program will provide nutritious meals to children whose parents work during the day.
“There is no discrimination,” said Food Service Director Jarrett Rogers. “This is an equal opportunity. We’re just happy to be able to provide these meals,” he said.
“We just want to be able to take care of our community and children who need this.”
Lincoln and Barsanti Elementary and Fort Campbell High School have been selected to help more children be able to take advantage of the program because they can easily walk to the nearest school.
“It’s nice because it will attract lots of children within the same area,” said Child Nutrition Clerk Nicole Maxfield. “They don’t have to rely on their parents to actually drive them to the school.”
Hot and kid-friendly meals consisting of a sandwich, baked chips, honey graham crackers, milk or juice substitute, along with a fruit and a vegetable will be freshly prepared daily by the Fort Campbell Schools’ Food Service summer staff.
“We’re going to have some things that [are] light because it is going to be pretty warm outside,” said Rogers. “We want to try to get some things that [are] kid-friendly, things that they like, that will still give them a high nutritional value.”
The summer meal program is federally-funded and does not require any proof of residency or any other paperwork needed for children to attend. The only requirement is that the children eat in the cafeteria.
“They must consume the meal there,” said Rogers. “It doesn’t require them to do anything [else] other than walk in to one of the three locations, go through and get a meal, that is it.”
The meal program has been in existence at Fort Campbell since the 1999-2000 school year. Things have changed. Originally the Fort Campbell Schools’ Food Service’s purpose was to provide meals for low-income Families.
“It’s just a program that we’re offering that’s going to be able to bridge the gap between those meals that the [parents] are not able to prepare at home while they are away at work,” said Rogers.
Last year, for the month of June the program helped feed 3,874 kids for breakfast and 11,350 for lunch; For July, 2,583 for breakfast and 8,007 for lunch.
Rogers said it is a good option for parents to have their children to go somewhere and have a healthy lunch or healthy breakfast.
“It’s cost-effective to the parent, hopefully the parent can find relief,” he said.
Assistant Director Elaine Dawkins has been involved with the feeding program since 2005 and knows firsthand how the program assists Families who do not have a sustainable income to feed their Family – especially during the summer.
“A lot of kids wouldn’t eat,” she said about children in the past. “They [were] so excited when they [would] come in, especially on Mondays.”
In addition to offering meals inside the cafeteria, Rogers noted that staff members will also drive a mobile feeding van to various parks in the community to find children who may want a meal.
“I like to think of it as giving the parents a break - to cut some of their food costs,” he said.
The menu will be posted on the Fort Campbell Schools’ website, www.am.dodea.edu/campbell/. Adults may purchase breakfast for $2.25 or lunch for $3.25. For more information, call (270) 640-1233.
“There’s definitely a need for it on post,” said Office Automation school personnel Christine Luke. “It’s a good substitute for getting them a healthy meal and making sure they leave full.”
All children receive a free breakfast and lunch meal at three school locations on post.
· Who: Any child 18 years and under.
· When: June 6 through July 26, except weekends and holidays. Breakfast: 8 a.m. until 9. Lunch: 11 a.m. until 1 p.m.
· Where: Lincoln and Barsanti Elementary and Fort Campbell High School.
· How: Children and teens can stop by one of the serving locations during the meal service hours and receive a free meal. Adults may purchase breakfast for $2.25 or lunch for $3.25.
For more information, visit www.am.dodea.edu/campbell/ or call the Fort Campbell Schools Food Service at (270) 640-1233.