No such thing as a free lunch? Think again.
A few sites in Jackson County will serve free meals this summer for children ages 18 and younger.
Participants are not required to sign up or apply, and there are no income or other guidelines that must be met in order to qualify.
That’s because the meal site itself qualifies by having at least 50 percent of its students during the school year receiving free or reduced-cost lunches, said Bonnie Burbrink, director of food services for Seymour Community School Corp.
Summer meals will be served at Seymour Middle School, 920 N. O’Brien St., again this year.
“You just have to show up and take a tray,” said Stacey Driver, registered dietitian and assistant to the food service director.
Children can eat breakfast from 8 to 10:30 a.m. and lunch from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Mondays through Fridays.
Adult meals also are available for $3.25, allowing families to eat together at a low cost. All meals must be eaten on site.
“You could bring your family with four kids and eat for one adult price,” Burbrink said. “For the kind of meal and the amount you get, you couldn’t do it for that cost anywhere else.”
The program runs from June 6 to July 29 and is closed July 4 for the holiday.
The Summer Food Service Program also will be available at two sites in Medora — the junior-senior high school, 82 George St., and Rivervale Chapel, 10935 W. County Road 675S — from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Mondays through Fridays.
Medora’s program will run through Aug. 5 and also is available to anyone older than 18 enrolled in a state-approved educational program for the mentally or physically disabled.
Meal costs are reimbursed by the United States Department of Agriculture, so the more meals served, the more money the site receives.
Last year, Seymour served more than 14,000 meals, which was an increase from the previous year, Driver said.
“Every year, we hope to grow a little bit more,” she said.
In order to reach as many students as possible, Burbrink said, meals are served where there is the most summer activity. Seymour Middle School is the location of a summer school technology camp this year, and it’s within walking distance of the Boys and Girls Club and Girls Inc.
“The best way to make it work is connect it with programs,” Burbrink said. “So as the summer programs expand, our numbers expand.”
She said the program also is available for day care providers to bring children to eat and is perfect for families planning to spend the afternoon at the pool or the park.
“It doesn’t matter, we would love for everyone to come eat with us,” Burbrink said.
Driver said in the past, they have offered meals at Margaret R. Brown Elementary School, too, but couldn’t this year because of interior renovation work being done there over the summer.
“We like to have it at Brown because that’s such a good neighborhood to be in,” Driver said. “It’s very walkable, and those families really use the program.”
Seymour-Jackson and Seymour-Redding elementary schools also qualify to serve summer meals, but they aren’t as easily accessed by children who may need to walk, Burbrink said.
“Unless the programs are there, we don’t do them there,” she said.
Seymour Community School Corp. has offered summer meals since 2008 to ensure children continue to receive nutritious meals when school is not in session.
Meals will be similar to what the schools offer during the school year.
Each meal will consist of a meat or meat alternate, a grain, fruit, vegetable and milk. Menus will be available at the schools, so parents and children know what food will be served each day.
A complete meal will be offered, but children will be able to choose items. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches will be offered daily.
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What: Free Summer Food Service Program
Where: Seymour Middle School, 920 N. O’Brien St., Seymour; Medora Junior-Senior High School, 82 George St., Medora; and Rivervale Chapel, 10935 W. County Road 675S, Medora
When: Seymour will serve breakfast from 8 to 10:30 a.m. and lunch from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Mondays through Fridays from June 6 to July 29. There will be no meals served July 4. Medora will serve lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Mondays through Fridays from June 6 to Aug. 5.
For information about Seymour’s summer meal program, call the food service department at 812-271-1344.
For information about Medora’s program, call Rebecca Starr at 812-966-2210.