School’s free meal program to feed local children this summer

For the first time, the Princeton School District this summer will be providing free nutritional meals for children through age 18.
Summer should be a “stress-free time full of food, friends and fun,” and the free summer meals can help, the program’s literature states.
Princeton School District Food Service Director Deanna Cooley explained the program to the School Board April 15. She noted that while the federal program has been around for more than 30 years, the Princeton district has never participated in it.
Cooley noted, however, that if the district doesn’t break even in the program, she doesn’t expect to apply to have the program again the following year.
After her presentation, the board approved the program.
The Food and Nutrition Service Summer Food Service Program is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which reimburses the district for the meals it serves in the program. The meals will consist of breakfast and lunch daily Monday through Friday.
Cooley explained that the meals will be served at Princeton Middle School and will be available to anyone meeting the criteria, regardless what school district they live in. The criteria for getting the free summer program meals is to be age 18 and under, or 19 and over with state-defined mental or physical disabilities. Adults can also participate for a minimum charge of $3.50.
Cooley prepared a budget with two scenarios. Budget A showed just the Tiger Club children and the sixth- and ninth-grade orientation day students participating and projected a negative balance of about $4,433 when considering $19,878 in revenue and $24,311 in expenses. The budget is based on 60 breakfasts and 70 lunches served daily during the 49 days, plus the 500 meals served during the orientation for sixth graders and freshmen.
Cooley’s budget B scenario, which would have community members also participating, projected 80 breakfasts and 100 lunches being served daily besides the 500 orientation meals. Under that scenario, the estimated revenue would about $27,071 and the estimated expenses at $26,957, for a gain of about $114.
A campaign called “No Kid Hungry” states that during summer break, some families struggle with their food budget because their school-age kids are no longer eating at school, so the summer meals program can help during the break.
Besides the nutrition, school nutrition workers can make some extra money, the school district can gain some goodwill, more visibility and also potential revenue, the program’s literature states.
There will be some days when the meals won’t be served, including the first week of the summer break, July 4, and limited days in the last week of summer.
School Board Member Jeremy Miller said the program would be “good for the kids in the area.”
“And families who are struggling,” Cooley added.

Joel Stottrup / Union-Eagle Children at South Elementary (grades K-2) the morning of April 22 participating in the breakfast available each school day at the school. Breakfast is also served daily at Princeton Public Schools’ three other classroom buildings. Students who qualify for the free-and-reduce school lunch program receive the breakfast free, but other students, for a fee, may also have the breakfast.

Joel Stottrup / Union-Eagle
Children at South Elementary (grades K-2) the morning of April 22 participating in the breakfast available each school day at the school. Breakfast is also served daily at Princeton Public Schools’ three other classroom buildings. Students who qualify for the free-and-reduce school lunch program receive the breakfast free, but other students, for a fee, may also have the breakfast.

up arrow