FORSYTH COUNTY, N.C. — There is such thing a free lunch – and breakfast – for students this summer, according to the Winston-Salem Journal.
The free summer meals program starts at 20 local schools Monday. The program, intended to ensure all students are getting nutritious meals during the summer, is open to anyone under the age of 18, regardless of the school they attend and family income.
“Throughout the school year, a large majority of our population receives two out of three meals at school,” said Lauren Richards, director of child nutrition for Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools. “When school ends, a lot of times those meals end.”
The program will be amended slightly this year to accommodate the district’s new summer schedule. The district is moving to a four-day work week for the summer to cut utility costs. Darrell Walker, assistant superintendent of operations, estimates the district will save around $160,000 with the move. Like the rest of the district’s facilities, the meal sites will be closed Fridays. To make sure students still get their Friday meals, take-home meals will be available for pickup at all sites on Thursdays.
Families will have to fill out a liability waiver (with allergy information) before students can get the Friday sack lunches. The forms will be available in the cafeterias of the sites, starting Monday.
The take-home meals are being provided by a grant from the Ronald McDonald Foundation. Richards said her department is hoping to feed 2,000 students each week with that program.
Around 62,000 meals were served last summer. Richards said they expect that number to grow this summer as more students are expected to attend summer school programs. About 1,600 third-graders will be eligible for summer reading camps, and another 1,000 or more first- and second-grade students will be invited to a shorter summer program. Summer school sites coincide with summer meal sites, so all of those students will have access to the meals.
The district will not provide transportation to summer meal sites this year, but Richards said she doesn’t expect that to affect participation.
“It was a program that was underutilized,” she said.
Richards said many of the summer meal sites were chosen because of the larger number of students within walking distance, their neighborhood locations and proximity to community centers. A number of them are also located on or near public transportation lines, she said.
“We hope families take advantage of it, regardless of (income),” she said. “It’s an opportunity to have nutritious meals during the summer and takes hardship off of families.”
The meals start Monday and run through Aug. 14. They are available to anyone under the age of 18. Breakfast will be served from 8:15 a.m. to 8:45 a.m. Lunch will be served from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Here is a list of the sites in the program:
-Ashley IB Magnet, 1647 Ashley School Circle, Winston-Salem
-Cook Elementary, 920 11th Street NW, Winston-Salem
-Diggs-Latham Elementary, 986 Hutton Street, Winston-Salem
-Easton Elementary, 734 E. Clemmonsville Road, Winston-Salem
-Forest Park Elementary (opening 6/30/14), 2019 Milford Street, Winston-Salem
-Gibson Elementary, 2020 Walker Road, Winston-Salem
-Hall-Woodward Elementary, 125 Nicholson Road, Winston-Salem
-John F. Kennedy High, 890 E. 11th Street, Winston-Salem
-Kernersville Elementary, 512 W. Mountain Street, Kernersville
-Kimberley Park Elementary, 1701 N. Cherry Street, Winston-Salem
-Kimmel Farm Elementary, 4672 Ebert Road, Winston-Salem
-Konnoak Elementary, 3200 Renon Road, Winston-Salem
-Mineral Springs Elementary, 4527 Ogburn Avenue, Winston-Salem
-Mineral Springs Middle, 4559 Ogburn Avenue, Winston-Salem
-North Hills Elementary, 340 Alspaugh Drive, Winston-Salem
-Petree Elementary, 3815 Old Greensboro Road, Winston-Salem
-Philo-Hill Magnet, 410 Haverhill Street, Winston-Salem
-Sedge Garden Elementary, 475 Sedge Garden Road, Kernersville
-Speas Elementary, 2000 Polo Road, Winston-Salem
-Wiley Middle, 1400 Northwest Boulevard, Winston-Salem
For information about take-home meals on Fridays, call (336) 703-4275