Lunch program fills kids’ bellies
Kids in Pierce County may find themselves in a familiar place this summer: Standing in a lunch line.
School districts and nonprofit organizations throughout the county have signed up to participate in a government-funded summer meal program that provides children with free lunch while school is out of session.
“Our kids don’t often get a well-balanced meal, and our goal is to provide them with one,” said Kevin Scott, director of student nutrition for Clover Park School District.
To receive one of these free meals, all kids need to do is show up. There is no ID, parent signature or statement of income required. As long as they are 18 years old or younger, kids will receive their free lunch.
“No questions asked
just get in line and get your free meal,” said Paul Conger, field assistant at Tacoma Public Schools Nutrition Services.
Students statewide lined up for their free meals last summer. An average of 39,455 lunches per day were served at 752 sites across the state in 2011, according to the state Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction.
Thousands of free lunches are served daily, and the United States Department of Agriculture reimburses sponsors for each one. In order for sites to receive reimbursement, each meal must adhere to the nutritional guidelines set forth by the USDA.
For Metro Parks Tacoma officials, the nutritional requirement is one they look forward to meeting.
“It’s an opportunity for us to help facilitate healthy choices for children,” said Nancy Johnson, communications manager at Metro Parks. “We believe there is a direct correlation between health and well-being, and parks are committed to the well-being of our community.”
Hours, days and meals vary; contact sponsors for more information.
Sponsor: Bethel School District, 253-683-6911.
Sites: Chester Thompson Elementary School, Evergreen Elementary School, Roy Elementary School.
Sponsor: Bonney Lake Community Resources, 253-208-6779.
Sites: Allan Yorke Park, Cedarview Park, Ponderosa Park, Prairie Ridge Community Center, Rhododendron Park.
Sponsor: Boys & Girls Clubs of South Puget Sound, 253-502-4670.
Site: Cheney Family Branch, Gig Harbor.
Sponsor: Clover Park School District, 253-583-7380.
Sites: Dower Elementary School, Evergreen Elementary School, Harrison Preparatory School, Lakeview Elementary School, Lochburn Middle School, Oakwood Elementary School, Park Lodge Elementary School, Tillicum Elementary School, Woodbrook Middle School.
Sponsor: Franklin Pierce School District, 253-298-4602.
Sites: Brookdale Elementary School, Christensen Elementary School, Ford Middle School, Franklin Pierce High School, Harvard Elementary School, Tahoma View Apartments.
Sponsor: Metropolitan Parks, 253-591-2042.
Sites: Christian Brotherhood Academy on the Hilltop, Discover Your Destiny on Pacific Avenue, Jane Clark Park, Jefferson Park, McKinley Playfield, People’s Center, Portland Avenue Park, South End Neighborhood Center, South Park, Titlow Park, Vision Center on the Hilltop, Wright Park.
Sponsor: Orting Food Bank, 360-893-3150.
Site: Orting Park.
Sponsor: Peninsula Communities of Faith, 253-884-4449.
Site: Key Peninsula Lutheran Church.
Sponsor: Puyallup School District, 253-841-8773.
Sites: Firgrove Elementary School, Karshner Elementary School, Spinning Elementary School, Stewart Elementary School, Sunrise Elementary School, Wildwood Elementary School.
Sponsor: Sumner School District, 253-891-4600.
Sites: Daffodil Valley Elementary School, Liberty Ridge Elementary School.
Sponsor: Tacoma Public Schools, 253-571-3375.
Sites: Arlington Elementary School, Baker Middle School, Birney Elementary School, Blix Elementary School, Boze Elementary School, DeLong Elementary School, First Creek Middle School, Foss High School, Giaudrone Middle School, Gray Middle School, Helen B. Stafford Elementary School, Jason Lee Middle School, Larchmont Elementary School, Lincoln High School, Lister Elementary School, Mann Elementary School, Mason Middle School, McCarver Elementary School, Meeker Middle School, Mount Tahoma High School, Northeast Tacoma Elementary School, Point Defiance Elementary School, Reed Elementary School, Sheridan Elementary School, Skyline Elementary School, Stadium High School, Stewart Middle School, Truman Middle School, Whitman Elementary School, Wilson High School.
Sponsor: The Evergreen State College Upward Bound, 360-867-6012.
Site: The Evergreen State College- Tacoma Campus.
Sponsor: The Food Connection (St. Leo), 253-327-1710.
Sites: American Lake Park, Arrowhead Apartments, Bergerson Terrace Apartments, Colburn Park, Fircrest Community Center, Green Firs Apartments, Healing Homes, Hillside Gardens, Hillside Terrace, McCarver Park, Sage Terrace Apartments, Salishan (Tacoma Housing Authority), Springbrook Park, Stewart Heights Park, Tillicum Library, Tyee Park.
For more information or to locate a meal site, visit resources.parenthelp123.org/service/summer-meals
or call 888-436-6392.