Lake Stevens School District’s Summer Lunch program was a huge success serving 1,773 meals in 29 days at Hillcrest Elementary School. The program did so well, in fact, that they are planning the program again in 2013.
“As long as a building in our district qualifies again this coming school year our program will be offering a summer lunch program in 2013,” Lake Stevens School District’s Food, Nutrition and Health Services Manager, Mollie Langum said.
The district currently has one-third of their students who qualify for the free and reduced lunch program making the summer lunch program a much needed boost to kids and their health during the summer months.
“Offering a summer lunch program is the right thing to do. It feels great to know you are providing a service that really helps families in the community during the summer months when school is not in session. Many families participate in the district’s free and reduced program and over the past four years our district’s eligibility percentage has grown from 22 percent to 32 percent,” Langum said.
The district had to meet certain requirements to qualify for federal help with the summer lunch program. They did this and were able to help hundreds of kids.
“Once it was determined that the district had met the minimum threshold for a school building to qualify for the USDA Federally funded program we received a great deal of interest and support from the Superintendent, Lake Stevens Board of Directors, building staff and volunteers to implement a program and open our doors to feed children this summer,” Langum explained.
Over 160 volunteers helped serve the students during the summer. On Fridays, the Lil’ Hungry Hearts program gave away fresh garden produce and goodie bags to help families through the weekend.
“Our program was fortunate to have a great group of community volunteers that assisted each day and also provided a big bag of fresh garden produce and books to families on Fridays. During the last two weeks of the program, Hillcrest Principal, Steve Burleigh held a math class for students that released right when the lunch served started,” Langum said.
After receiving feedback from those who used the program, Langum saw just how instrumental the lunches were to a well-rounded and healthy summer for students.
“The last week of service, surveys were distributed to parents and students to provide feedback on the program. Many commented about how wonderful it was to have provided this service for students from all over the community to come and enjoy a healthy lunch. Any child or teen that walked in the door received a healthy lunch,” Langum said.
Students were given an entrée with side dish options which included fresh fruits and vegetables. Most of the kids piled their trays with local fruits.
“Trays were pretty empty when they approached the garbage can and that is always a good sign,” Langum said. “We were pleased and shocked how many fresh fruits and veggies the kids selected with their entree choice. The best part of a summer lunch program is we get to take advantage of all the local and seasonal produce. The kid’s favorites were the fruit offerings and they filled their trays with cherries, watermelon and fresh strawberries from Biringer Farm in Arlington.”