In an effort to feed more kids, Seymour Community School Corp. has doubled the number of free meal sites it is offering this summer.
Beginning Monday, hot breakfast and lunch will be served at three different locations – Seymour Middle School, Margaret R. Brown Elementary School and Seymour High School – and a hot lunch will be available at the Jackson County Public Library in Seymour.
Meals will be served Monday through Friday through July 26 with the exception of Independence Day on July 4.
Breakfast is from 7:40 to 8:40 a.m. at the high school and from 8 to 9 a.m. at the middle school and Brown Elementary. Lunch is served from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the three school sites. At the library, lunch will be served from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
All children, up to age 18, are eligible for the free meals. There is no registration or sign-in list and no qualifications that have to be met.
Food insecurity is a major issue in the community, and when school lets out for the summer, many families are faced with the financial hardship of being able to feed their children three meals a day, said Stacey Townsend, food service director for Seymour Community Schools.
But the summer meals also are great for babysitters, summer athletes and busy families who just want a quick, nutritious meal without having to worry about the preparation or clean up, Townsend added.
“This program is for everyone,” she said. “Anyone can simply visit one of our sites and have a meal.”
Adults meals can be purchased at a cost of $2 for breakfast and $3 for lunch.
Meals are similar to those served during the school year, but the guidelines are not as stringent, Townsend said.
Breakfast will consist of an entree, fruit, juice and milk. Lunch will include a lean protein, grain, vegetable, fruit and milk. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches will be offered as a lunch option daily.
Seymour Community School Corp. qualifies to provide free summer meals for children through the federally-funded Summer Food Service Program, because the schools serve students in low-income areas.
Schools with more than 50 percent of their students qualifying for free and reduced price meals during the school year are eligible to serve free summer meals. The cost of the meals is reimbursed by the United States Department of Agriculture.
“With nearly 58 percent of our students qualifying for meal assistance, we know this program is a great benefit for our community,” Townsend said.
A total of 20,749 meals were served through the summer meals program last summer, which was an increase of 3,000 meals from the summer of 2017. This is the 12th year for the program to be offered in Seymour.
Townsend is expecting even bigger numbers this year with the added sites.
“This program just continues to grow and exceed my expectations every year,” she said.
The library is a great location to provide free meals, Townsend said, because of the number of children who visit daily and participate in the library’s summer learning program.
“We were excited that the library approached us about a partnership this year,” she said. “We are hoping this will help us reach more children in the community who are not able to make it to one of our traditional locations.”
Seymour High School was added because it is very busy during the summer.
Principal Greg Prange approached Townsend about expanding to the high school because he felt the students enrolled in summer programming could benefit from having nutritious meals available to them at no cost.
It is also a good location because students can access it by walking or riding a bicycle from surrounding neighborhoods, Townsend added.
“Between summer school, athletic camps, summer workouts and band, there are more than enough children around to keep us busy,” she said.
[sc:pullout-title pullout-title=”If you go” ][sc:pullout-text-begin]
Free summer meals
Who: Seymour Community Schools is providing free breakfast and lunch for all children up to age 18.
When: Mondays through Fridays, June 3 – July 26. No meals served on July 4.
Where: Seymour High School, 1350 W. Second St., breakfast from 7:40 to 8:40 a.m., lunch from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Margaret R. Brown Elementary, 550 Miller Lane, and Seymour Middle School, 920 N. O’Brien St., breakfast, 8 to 9 a.m., lunch 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., and the Jackson County Public Library, 303 W. Second St., lunch 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. (no breakfast will be served at the library).
Adults can purchase breakfast for $2 and lunch for $3.
No income requirements or registration.
[sc:pullout-text-end][sc:pullout-title pullout-title=”At a glance” ][sc:pullout-text-begin]
Menu for free summer meals
All breakfasts consist of an entree, fruit, juice and milk.
Daily entree choices include cereal for breakfast and peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch
Monday, June 3
Breakfast – Pop-Tart
Lunch – Bosco cheese sticks w/marinara sauce, peas, fruit, milk
Tuesday, June 4
Breakfast – Flapstick
Lunch – Pizza, corn, fruit, milk
Wednesday, June 5
Breakfast – Sweet Slice Bread
Lunch – Crispy chicken sandwich, broccoli w/cheese, fruit, milk
Thursday, June 6
Breakfast – Sausage biscuit
Lunch – Doritos taco salad, refried beans w/cheese, fruit, milk
Friday, June 7
Breakfast – Doughnut
Lunch – Bacon cheddar burger, potato wedges, fruit, milk