Posted Date: 08/07/2018
Federal funding for school lunches and breakfasts enabled Chanute Public Schools to feed more than 7,000 meals to children this summer.
The district’s nutrition department brought the lunches to the children in June and July. Both a van and a lunch wagon with seating beneath a canopy stopped at five different locations Monday through Friday. Some of busier sites - Save A Lot parking lot, the Chanute Public Library, the American Legion and Highland Park - averaged between 10 and 27 meals each day.
During the 14 days of summer school in July, the nutrition department served breakfast and hot lunches at Chanute Elementary School, while the van and wagon continued making rounds to the satellite stops.
The hot meals were free to the public and summer school students, ages 1-18.
At CES, they served 2,292 hot lunches and 107 sack lunches in July, to roughly 185 children each day. They also served 1,599 breakfasts to about 114 students each morning.
With both parents working in most households, “more and more kids are left at home while parents work,” said Child Nutrition and Wellness Director Terri Markham. “Summer meals help those families, so parents know their kids are getting a healthy meal and not cooking while no adult is home.”
The children also get exercise walking to the satellite sites and have a chance to socialize with other children while they eat.
Markham said that they doubled the number of locations where meals were served this summer, and they delivered meals to three Vacation Bible Schools and a parks and recreation day camp.
“We will definitely do those (sites) again next year,” Markham said, as they served 895 meals at those four week-long programs.
It took some dedicated staff members to meet the deadlines to make the meal program happen.
“I had three staff that worked all eight weeks of the summer meal program,” Markham said. “I have an amazing staff and none of this would be possible without them. They gave up their summer to make sure kids had summer meals.”
Many of the new meal locations attracted children, but participation at a couple others was poor so they won’t be using those locations next year.
“In removing a couple sites it will allow us to stay longer at the busy sites,” Markham said. But, “if anyone knows of an area in town that would be a good meal site for next year, please contact me.”
Markham can be reached at 432-2506 or emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org