NEWARK – In an effort to ensure students don’t go hungry, the school system will again offer free summer meals throughout the county.
Worcester County Public Schools will offer local children free meals at both school and community sites between now and the middle of August through the Summer Food Service Program.
“It’s critical for us at the Worcester County Board of Education to continue to provide kids nutritious meals,” said Odtis Collins, coordinator of food service for the school system. “When schools are closed, we want to continue to be support for them.”
Free breakfast and lunch will be offered at county schools during summer sessions, which run Monday through Thursday from June 26 to July 27. Other meal sites are spread throughout the county. Morning and afternoon snacks will be offered at Worcester County Parks and Recreation from June 19-Aug. 18. Breakfast and lunch will be served in Snow Hill at Ebenezer United Methodist Church Monday through Thursday between June 26 and Aug. 17. Lunch will be offered at the Lower Shore Family YMCA June 19-Aug. 18. Lunch will also be served at Windy Garden Apartments in Pocomoke Monday through Thursday from June 26-Aug. 17.
Though the school system has provided summer meals for several years, the program has expanded recently. Ebenezer United Methodist Church was added as a site last year and Windy Garden Apartments is a new site this year.
“They’re anticipating 40 to 50 kids a day,” Collins said.
He said that in areas with high percentages of students who received free and reduced price meals, he approached local organizations to seek their help in providing a site for summer meals and serving the food.
“The community’s been great and wants to be a part of it,” he said.
The summer meals, which will all be prepared at Snow Hill Elementary School once the various summer academy programs end in July, will be delivered to each site.
“Everything will come from one satellite kitchen,” Collins said. “We have a driver that delivers the meals to the sites and that’s when volunteers kick in. It’s not only important to provide the meal but to make sure it’s nutritionally sound.”
Collins estimates the Summer Food Service Program will feed more than 800 children a day during the county’s summer academy programs and 450 children a day once those have ended.