Summer meals program aims to keep kids well fed

  • Thu Jun 28th, 2012 7:05pm
  • News

By Amy Daybert Herald Writer

LAKE STEVENS — First-grader Todd Young smeared tomato sauce across a layer of pita bread at a table in the cafeteria at Hillcrest Elementary School. He sprinkled cheese over the sauce and ate the pizza he had just created.

Todd, 6, thought his lunch tasted good Tuesday afternoon. His mom, Macoiya Young, said he was hungry after working up an appetite at basketball camp. The free summer meal program that began this week fits right into her two children’s daily routines now that school is out.

“It’s perfect timing,” Young said. “The kids really enjoy it.”

Pita pizzas, deli sandwiches, fresh fruit and veggies were all part of the menu at the school this week as part of a federal program to feed school-age kids.

School districts throughout Snohomish County have started or are planning to participate in summer food programs this summer.

The free meals are served in schools or other locations in low-income communities where at least 50 percent of the children are eligible for free or reduced-price school meals. The federal government reimburses the districts and other organizations for meals served. Any child 18 years and younger can have a free lunch and there are no requirements or paperwork to take part in the program.

There are 35 summer meal sites in the county this year. That’s six more than in 2011, said Claire Lane, food security program manager for WithinReach, a Seattle-based nonprofit that promotes summer lunch programs in the state.

“That’s been a huge push on outreach,” Lane said. “Where schools haven’t been able to keep their doors open we’ve encouraged other community organizations to step into that void and we’ve gotten great responses.”

WithinReach partners with the state Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction to provide information about summer meals sites.

This is the first time Lake Stevens School District has participated in the summer meal program. The district serves lunch from noon to 12:30 p.m. Monday through Friday at Hillcrest Elementary. The program is set to end on Aug. 3, and no meal will be offered on July 4.

The program’s first four days brought in up to 50 kids each day, said Mollie Langum, food and nutrition supervisor for the district. The meal on Monday was kind of quiet, so on Tuesday Langum played music by the Beach Boys.

“We just want to make it as fun and uplifting as we can so kids are excited to come back,” she said.

The Snohomish School District started a three-week summer meal program in 2010. Last year it expanded to include breakfast and lunch throughout the summer. On Monday, the district began serving meals at Snohomish High School and mobile units at the Snohomish Boys &Girls Club and the Circle H Mobile Home Park.

Last summer, the program served 2,346 breakfasts and 5,854 lunches to area kids, said Kristin Foley, a district spokeswoman.

“We expanded again because there are a lot of kids who cannot get to the school,” she said. “We thought it was important to get the food to them.”

The Everett Public Schools food and nutrition department has since 1991 sponsored summer lunch programs for kids. This year, the program is set to run July 9 through Aug. 24 at about 20 sites. The district’s food and nutrition department staff and volunteers plan to transport meals, serve children and supervise the sites.

The district served 15,000 meals last summer, said Joanna Peeler, food and nutrition manager. The lunches and snacks provide food for students who might otherwise go without. It also offers a social opportunity for kids, Peeler said.

“I think it gives them some place to go rather than staying at home all day,” she said.

Although not part of the federal program, the nonprofit organization, Food Lifeline, started a new program on June 19 to serve food to children in low-income communities. The hunger relief organization based in Shoreline worked with Volunteers of America’s Sky Valley Service Center in Sultan to begin Kids Cafe. The summer meal program for kids 18 and younger operates at Doolittle Pioneer Park in Index. The program is scheduled to run three days a week through Aug. 30. Food Lifeline is planning to partner with other community organizations such as food banks and community centers. It hopes to expand to more sites and offer free food service for children after school, said Ashley Gammell, a spokeswoman for Food Lifeline.

“We have a lot of data that shows kids really need this service,” she said. “We seek to not compete with other programs but rather to be filling gaps where there is no service.”

Amy Daybert: 425-339-3491; adaybert@heraldnet.com.

Where to go

Most free summer lunch programs in Snohomish County run from Monday to Friday, with some closed on certain days. They are free to those 18 and younger. Some sell meals to people who are older and some also offer breakfast or snacks.

For other places call 888-4-FOOD-WA or go to www.Parenthelp123.org for more information.

Everett School District:

Cedar Grove Apartments

7401 84th St. NE, Marysville

11:30 a.m. to noon, July 9 to Aug. 24

Emerson Elementary

8702 Seventh Ave. SE, Everett

Noon to 12:30 p.m., Aug. 6-23

Everett Boys &Girls Club

2316 12th St. Everett

11 a.m. to noon, July 9 to Aug. 24

Family Tree Apartments

10110 19th Ave. SE, Everett

Noon to 12:30 p.m., July 9 to Aug. 24

Garfield Elementary

2215 Pine St., Everett

11:15 to 11:45 a.m., July 9 to Aug. 24

Grace Lutheran Church

8401 Holly Drive, Everett

Noon to 12:30 p.m., July 10 to Aug. 23

Grandview Apartments

718 Linden St., Everett

Noon to 12:30 p.m., July 9 to Aug. 24

Hawthorne Elementary

1110 Poplar St., Everett

11:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m., July 9 to Aug. 24

Heatherwood Apartments

13510 North Creek Drive, Mill Creek

Noon to 12:30 p.m., July 9 to Aug. 24

Lincoln Way Apartments

2721 Lincoln Way, Lynnwood

11:30 a.m. to noon, July 9 to Aug. 24

Lowell Elementary

5010 View Drive, Everett

Noon to 12:30, Aug. 6-24

Madison Elementary

616 Pecks Drive, Everett

Noon to 12:30 p.m., Aug. 6-23

Mill Pointe Apartments

3111 132nd St. SE, Everett

Noon to 12:30 p.m., July 9 to Aug. 24

North Middle School

2514 Rainier Ave., Everett

Breakfast: 8 to 8:30 a.m., lunch: 10:30 to 11 a.m.; July 9-19

Pineview Resident Council

220 98th 1/2 Place SE, Everett

Noon to 12:30 p.m., July 9 to Aug. 24

Sequoia High School

3516 Rucker Ave., Everett

10:15 to 10:45 a.m., July 10 to Aug. 17

Silver Lake Elementary

12815 Bothell-Everett Highway, Everett

Noon to 12:30, Aug. 6-23

Trailside Apartments

1300 100th Pl. SE. Suite A, Everett

11:30 a.m. to noon, July 9 to Aug. 24

Westwood Crossing Apartments

1350 Cedar Ave., Marysville

11 a.m. to noon, July 9 to Aug. 24

Zion Lutheran Church

4634 S. Alger Ave., Everett

Noon to 12:30 p.m., July 9-27

Granite Falls School District

Granite Falls Middle

405 N. Alder Ave., Granite Falls

Noon to 1 p.m., ends Aug. 31

Lake Stevens School District

Hillcrest Elementary

9315 4th St. SE, Lake Stevens

Noon to 12:30 p.m., ends Aug. 3

Marysville School District

Beach Street Boys &Girls Club

1010 Beach St., Marysville

Lunch: 11:30 a.m. to noon, snack: 2:30 to 3 p.m.; July 9 to Aug. 24

Cascade Elementary

5200 100th St. NE, Marysville

Snack: 9:30 to 10 a.m., lunch: 11:30 to noon; July 9 to Aug. 24

Liberty Elementary

1919 10th St., Marysville

Snack: 9:30 to 10 a.m., lunch: 11:30 a.m. to noon; July 9 to Aug. 24

Shoultes Elementary

13525 51st Ave. NE, Marysville

Snack: 9:30 to 10 a.m., lunch: 11:30 a.m. to noon; July 9 to Aug. 24

Tulalip Boys &Girls Club

7707 36th Ave. NW, Tulalip

Snack: 9:30 to 10 a.m., lunch: Noon to 12:30 p.m.; July 9 to Aug. 24

Monroe School District

Frank Wagner Elementary School

115 Dickinson Road

Noon to 12:45 p.m., ends Aug. 17

Mukilteo School District

Horizon Elementary

222 W. Casino Road, Everett

Breakfast: 7:45 to 8:45 a.m., lunch: 11:45 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. Ends Aug. 24.

Odyssey Elementary

13025 17th Ave. W., Everett

Breakfast: 7:45 to 8:45 a.m., lunch: 11:45 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. Ends Aug. 24.

Voyager Middle

11711 Fourth Ave. W., Everett

Breakfast: 8 to 9 a.m., lunch: 11:45 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. Ends Aug. 24.

Snohomish School District

Snohomish High School

1316 Fifth St., Snohomish

Breakfast: 8:30 to 9 a.m., lunch: 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.; ends Aug. 31.

Snohomish Boys &Girls Club

402 Second St., Snohomish

11:45 a.m. to 12:15 p.m., ends Aug. 31

Circle H Mobile Home Park

6413 123rd Ave. SE, Snohomish

Noon to 12:15 p.m., ends Aug. 31

Stanwood-Camano School District

Twin City Elementary School

26211 72nd Ave. NW.

Breakfast: 9 to 10 a.m., lunch: 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., ends Aug. 23

Other Sponsors and Sites

North Counties Family Services

Darrington School District Cafeteria

1065 Fir St., Darrington

11:30 a.m. to noon, ends July 26

Food Lifeline Kids Cafe

Doolittle Pioneer Park

Fifth Street and Avenue A, Index

Noon to 1 p.m., Tues., Wed., Thurs.; ends Aug. 30