This summer, there is such a thing as a free lunch – and a free breakfast – in the Weyauwega-Fremont School District.
The Summer Food Service Program is being offered for the children of families who live in the district.
“The intent is to continue food service opportunities for school-aged children for the summer when school is not in session,” said District Administrator Scott Bleck.
The program is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and is administered by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. It provides meals to children 18 years of age and under when free and reduce-priced school meals are unavailable.
Bleck said the school district became eligible to participate in the program because of the number of students who qualified for free or reduced school lunches.
After learning that the district qualified, the administrative team began looking into the feasibility of having the program. That planning began last fall.
He said 50 percent of a district’s students have to qualify for either free or reduced lunch, and in the 2010-11 school year, the W-F district met that.
Once a district qualifies, it can offer the summer program for five years, he said.
“A number of districts qualify,” Bleck said. “It’s up to the district whether it wants to pursue it. We see it as a good opportunity to give back to the community. We are here for the families in the district.”
When a district qualifies for the program, all students in the district are eligible for it during the summer months, he said.
Weyauwega-Fremont started offering free breakfast and lunch on June 11, which was the first day of Enrichment Summer School.
Breakfast is offered from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. and lunch from noon to 1 p.m., Monday through Friday. The meals are served in the middle school cafeteria.
For the summer program, the district has a smaller kitchen staff, with two individuals preparing and serving the meals, Bleck said.
Grab-and-go items are offered for breakfast, while lunch is a full meal.
Bleck said the menu will vary. It is posted on the district’s website – www.wegafremont.k12.wi.us. Click on the “lunch menu” tab on the district’s homepage to find out what is being served on a daily basis.
The Summer Food Service Program is being offered through Friday, Aug. 24.
However, this week, no meals are being served.
Bleck said students do not have to be going to summer school in order to eat breakfast or lunch at the school.
But, Elementary Principal Kirk Delwiche said the addition of free breakfast and lunch was a “great boost to our summer school program.”
During the three weeks of Enrichment Summer School, the district served about 100 breakfasts and 150 lunches per day. The district’s Fundamentals Summer School Program begins on Monday, July 23.
When asked how they prepared for the new program, Bleck said, “We invested a lot of time and energy into planning. We have a known enrollment for summer school. We will see how many outside of the summer school program decide to use it.”
He said families of school-aged children living in the district do not have to pre-register their children for the summer food program.
Students can simply walk over to the middle school and eat breakfast, lunch or both.
“The district sees it as an opportunity to help our families in the community,” Bleck said.