Aaron Riall-Conklin (right) asks a question with Sydney Mondares-Burke looking on Wednesday afternoon at Shoultes Elementary School in Marysville. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Aaron Riall-Conklin (right) asks a question with Sydney Mondares-Burke looking on Wednesday afternoon at Shoultes Elementary School in Marysville. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Kids eat dinner for free at four Marysville schools

The dinner program is run like summer lunches and is open at no cost to anyone up to 18 years old.

MARYSVILLE — The first to approach the counter on Tuesday was a girl with her dark hair gathered in a side ponytail by a bright orange hair tie.

She grabbed a milk and held up her tray for Heidi Camphouse to pile on cheese ravioli, green beans and diced pears.

Next came a boy in a baggy blue sweatshirt who was barely tall enough to pluck a partitioned white tray from the top of the stack.

The line continued to move. Camphouse filled trays and made sure no one sneaked away without vegetables and fruit.

At tables in the Shoultes Elementary School cafeteria, where the walls are painted with sharks, children chatted as they dug into their dinners.

The first meal, at 4:15 p.m., was for students in the district’s 21st Century Community Learning Center, an afterschool program that provides educational support.

The second meal was for anyone.

Around 4:45 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, the cafeterias at Shoultes, Cascade, Liberty and Quil Ceda Tulalip elementary schools open to the public. Those 18 and younger eat for free, no questions asked.

Adults can eat, too, but their meal costs $4.50.

At Shoultes, a family of five has been coming every day since Oct. 15, said Camphouse, who has worked in Marysville schools for 10 years.

The dinner program runs just like summer meals, said LaToya Morris, director of child nutrition for the district. It’s funded through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service.

The sites are chosen based on the percentage of children who qualify for free or reduced price lunches, though the dinners are open to all.

This is the third year, Morris said. There are three hot entrees each week and one cold meal, usually a sandwich. Vegetables, fruit and milk are included.

In the past, the dinners have drawn between 20 and 50 people, depending on the day. Morris said it hasn’t been as busy yet this year, but she expects it to pick up as word gets out.

“We’re in an area where eligibility for free lunches is increasing. We need to feed kids,” Morris said. “A kid who comes to school and their belly is grumbling, how are they going to focus on what the teacher is saying?”

The meals also are a chance for kids to learn about healthy eating.

“They get food and extra time with their friends,” Camphouse said. “They all seem to like coming here … I’ll be here anyway. I like to have the company.”

Kari Bray: 425-339-3439; kbray@heraldnet.com.

To help with the program, adults can request a volunteer application from their local school or the district office. Food must be served by professionals, but volunteers can help monitor students and clean up.

The dinners take place on days when there is a 21st Century meeting after school, so there are some weeks when there will not be dinner. More information is online at www.msd25.org/food-service—25.

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Local News

A Mukilteo Speedway sign hangs at an intersection along the road on Sunday, April 21, 2024, in Mukilteo, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Long live the Speedway! Mukilteo’s main drag won’t be renamed

The public shot down the mayor’s idea to change the name: 77% voted ‘No’ in an online survey, with 95% opposed on Facebook.

Motorcyclist dies in crash on East Marine View Drive in Everett

Around 8 p.m. Tuesday, a motorcycle and a vehicle crashed into each other at the intersection of 11th street and East Marine View Drive.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Darrington in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Motorcyclist dies in crash on Highway 530

Jeremy Doyle, 46, was riding east near Darrington when he crashed into the side of a car that was turning left.

The Marysville School District office on Thursday, Aug. 31, 2023 in Marysville, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
‘Financially insolvent’ Marysville schools to get unprecedented oversight

Superintendent Chris Reykdal will convene a first-of-its-kind Financial Oversight Committee, he wrote in a letter Tuesday.

Woodside Elementary Principal Betty Cobbs on Monday, June 17, 2024 in Bothell, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Everett’s first Black principal retires after 51 years

In her office, Betty Cobbs kept a black-and-white photo of herself at age 5: “I am right there, with dreams of becoming an educator.”

Junelle Lewis, right, daughter Tamara Grigsby and son Jayden Hill sing “Lift Every Voice and Sing” during Monroe’s Juneteenth celebration on Saturday, June 18, 2022. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
On Juneteenth: ‘We can always say that there is hope’

The Snohomish County NAACP is co-sponsoring a celebration Saturday near Snohomish, with speakers, music and food.

Granite Falls
Man, 35, dies from heart attack while hiking Lake 22

The man suffered a heart attack about 1½ miles into the 6-mile hike east of Granite Falls on Friday, authorities said.

36 hours after final show, Everett radio host Charlye Parker, 80, dies

When Parker got into radio, she was a rarity: a woman in a DJ booth. For the past 12 years, she hosted weekend country music shows at KXA.

Homeowners Jim and Chris Hall stand beneath their new heat pump, at right, inside their Whidbey Island home on Thursday, Sep. 7, 2023, near Langley, Washington. The couple, who are from Alaska, have decreased their use of their wood burning stove to reduce their carbon footprint. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Snohomish County to start ‘kicking gas’ in push for all-electric homes

Last year, 118 Whidbey Island homes installed energy-efficient heat pumps. A new campaign aims to make the case for induction stoves now, too.

Dr. Scott Macfee and Dr. Daniel Goodman outside of the Community Health Center on Wednesday, June 12, 2024 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Everett CHC doctors, feeling like ‘commodities,’ speak up on ailing system

At the Community Health Center of Snohomish County, doctors say they feel like “rats getting off a sinking ship.” They want it to get better.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Mountlake Terrace in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Man charged with shooting at ex-girlfriend, child in Mountlake Terrace

The man, 21, showed up to his ex-girlfriend’s apartment and opened fire through the door, new court records say.

People walk along Olympic Avenue past Lifeway Cafe and Olympic Theater that currently hosts Lifeway Church on Friday, July 7, 2023 in Arlington, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Arlington churches waged covert ‘battle’ against Pride event, records show

Sermons, emails and interviews reveal how an LGBTQ+ nonprofit became the target of a covert campaign by local evangelical leaders.

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.