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Thursday, May 23, 2024

Food programs to feed children during summer months

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As the school year comes to a close, several districts in Indianapolis are preparing to offer students free meals during the summer months. Sumer Food Service Programs are initiatives that are designed to fill nutrition gaps ensuring that children get healthy meals their bodies need. These programs serve to give students who receive breakfast and lunch through their specific School Breakfast and National School Lunch Programs an alternative in the summer.  

A major association in the city that offers one of these summer food service programs is the Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS). IPS has been offering this program to students for over 20 years.

“The Summer Food Service Program is set up so that all students age 18 and under, and I shouldn’t say students, but all children age 18 and under can get a breakfast and/or lunch at no charge,” said Jane Cookson, director of the Indianapolis Public School Food Services.

Cookson added that there was only one restriction for children 18 and under regarding this program: all meals have to be eaten at the location. For example, food can’t be taken home.

“That’s the only restriction,” she said. “Other than that, you can be a toddler, but if you can get into the building you can eat free of charge.”

In additions to IPS, other associations, organizations, and schools districts offer similar programs during the summer. These other school districts include, but are not limited to, Washington Township, Warren Township, and Franklin Township. Indy Parks is a major organization that also offers summer meals to children.

Despite economic issues, school officials say it is beneficial that such programs continue. These programs are important to ensure these young people are being fed nutritionally just as they are during the school year.

“Children have to go to specific locations where meals are going to be served. We aren’t open in every school, but in a limited number of schools,” said Cookson. “Indy Parks has a big program where they deliver meals to city parks. There are also a lot of churches and daycare centers that operate these type of programs. There are many ways for children to fed during these summer months.”



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