Lunch program feeds students over the summer

1 year 6 months 3 weeks ago August 02, 2015 Aug 2, 2015 Sunday, August 02 2015 Sunday, August 02, 2015 7:02:00 PM CDT in News
By: Vilma Obando, KOMU 8 Reporter
Embed Code Copied

COLUMBIA - Children who rely on free meals during the school year also have access to food programs during the summer months.

Lunch in the Park is part of the national Summer Food Service Program, which aims to ensure children from low-income families continue to receive nutritious meals when school is not in session. Lunches are funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and are an extension of the free and reduced-price lunch program that runs during the school year.

Alma Tapp is the owner of The School House Daycare. She has been coming to the park with her students for the past 15 years and says it's one of the things the kids look forward too.

"Sometimes, especially when we go to the movies, we come and have lunch here, which is every week," Tapp said. "And the kids love to come down and play and they love the lunches."

A report from the nonprofit Food Research and Action Center finds that 37,623 children in Missouri were served summer meals on an average day in July 2014. That's an increase of nearly 34 percent from the previous year. Nationally, more than 3 million students participated in summer meal programs, up 7.3 percent from 2013.

Site Supervisor Laura Starjak says this year Columbia's Lunch in the Park has brought an average of 100 kids a day. But that number can vary depending on the weather.

"The first summer I did this, I remember serving 185 kids in one day and I thought, you've got to be kidding me," Starjak said. "But it varies, sometimes the weather might be dreary and we will only serve about 35 kids."

Starjak said every summer, the program serves a total of at least 7,000 lunches.

According to the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, in the 2014-2015 school year, 7,734 Columbia Public School students, or 43 percent, qualified for free or reduced-price lunch

For 15 summers, the program has been going on at Douglass Park. It is the only site organized by the Columbia/Boone County Department of Public Health and Human Services, but other programs, such as the Boys and Girls Club and some local churches, offer lunches to kids too.

Lunches are prepared at Smithton Elementary School and are later delivered at 10:30 a.m. in Douglass Park.

On Monday's, Lunch in the Park also includes the Daniel Boone Regional Library Bookmobile. It's a traveling library that holds thousands of books for students. The Bookmobile also carries books that kids have previously ordered online for them to pick up.

"They not only provide food, but they have different activities as well," Tapp said. "And so my kids get to partake in that and it's just another reason to come and not only eat lunch but also learn at the same time."

Empower Missouri director Jeanette Oxford says summer challenges tight food budgets and that summer meal programs can help fill in the gaps. Community organizations, local nonprofits and for-profit companies set up and sponsor the federally-funded meal sites in cities throughout the country.

Free lunches are offered at Douglass Park to kids 18-years of age or younger, every weekday from 11:30 a.m. until 1 p.m. through Aug. 9.

 

More News

Grid
List
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Missouri lawmakers are considering proposals to update state driver's licensing procedures to comply with federal law.... More >>
47 minutes ago February 21, 2017 Feb 21, 2017 Tuesday, February 21 2017 Tuesday, February 21, 2017 4:41:00 PM CST in News
JEFFERSON CITY – Gender accessibility has become a controversial topic on a national level, and a bill presented at a... More >>
2 hours ago February 21, 2017 Feb 21, 2017 Tuesday, February 21 2017 Tuesday, February 21, 2017 2:50:00 PM CST in News
COLUMBIA- The University of Missouri System is looking for a chancellor with "a collaborative and transparent leadership style" who is... More >>
2 hours ago February 21, 2017 Feb 21, 2017 Tuesday, February 21 2017 Tuesday, February 21, 2017 2:38:00 PM CST in News
COLUMBIA - Promoting residents to interact closely with the police is the main step for city staff to build a... More >>
2 hours ago February 21, 2017 Feb 21, 2017 Tuesday, February 21 2017 Tuesday, February 21, 2017 2:31:00 PM CST in News
JEFFERSON CITY - A Columbia man has been charged in federal court on accusations that he played a role in... More >>
3 hours ago February 21, 2017 Feb 21, 2017 Tuesday, February 21 2017 Tuesday, February 21, 2017 2:13:00 PM CST in News
COLUMBIA - The Columbia Fire Department was dispatched to a gas leak at Bouchelle Avenue and College Avenue Tuesday afternoon.... More >>
4 hours ago February 21, 2017 Feb 21, 2017 Tuesday, February 21 2017 Tuesday, February 21, 2017 12:51:00 PM CST in News
JOPLIN, Mo. (AP) — A Joplin man alleged that police used excessive force in his 2015 arrest. The Joplin... More >>
7 hours ago February 21, 2017 Feb 21, 2017 Tuesday, February 21 2017 Tuesday, February 21, 2017 9:53:00 AM CST in News
KANSAS CITY (AP) — Authorities say two teenage cousins have died in a Kansas City crash. The Kansas City... More >>
8 hours ago February 21, 2017 Feb 21, 2017 Tuesday, February 21 2017 Tuesday, February 21, 2017 8:43:52 AM CST in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — A 14-year-old boy is recovering from non-life-threatening injuries after being hit by a train in suburban... More >>
9 hours ago February 21, 2017 Feb 21, 2017 Tuesday, February 21 2017 Tuesday, February 21, 2017 7:33:09 AM CST in News
UNIVERSITY CITY (AP) — Authorities in Missouri are investigating after dozens of headstones were damaged at a Jewish cemetery near... More >>
12 hours ago February 21, 2017 Feb 21, 2017 Tuesday, February 21 2017 Tuesday, February 21, 2017 4:39:00 AM CST in News
COLUMBIA - As the warm weather approaches, the number of unwanted litters increases, putting a burden on local shelters. ... More >>
14 hours ago February 21, 2017 Feb 21, 2017 Tuesday, February 21 2017 Tuesday, February 21, 2017 2:30:00 AM CST in Top Stories
HENNEPIN COUNTY, Minnesota - A Missouri construction worker, David Earl Hyde, 38, of Fulton died while on the job in... More >>
19 hours ago February 20, 2017 Feb 20, 2017 Monday, February 20 2017 Monday, February 20, 2017 9:54:00 PM CST in News
COLUMBIA - Columbia Regional Airport is about to get the renovation its been hoping for. The small airport currently flies... More >>
21 hours ago February 20, 2017 Feb 20, 2017 Monday, February 20 2017 Monday, February 20, 2017 7:37:00 PM CST in News
ST. CHARLES (AP) — Agents from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are joining the investigation into... More >>
22 hours ago February 20, 2017 Feb 20, 2017 Monday, February 20 2017 Monday, February 20, 2017 7:06:00 PM CST in News
JEFFERSON CITY - The Jefferson City City Council approved the Truman Hotel Urban Renewal Plan on Monday evening. The... More >>
22 hours ago February 20, 2017 Feb 20, 2017 Monday, February 20 2017 Monday, February 20, 2017 6:42:00 PM CST in News
COLUMBIA - Missouri's new first lady, Dr. Sheena Chestnut Greitens, said she is committed to keeping politics separate from her... More >>
22 hours ago February 20, 2017 Feb 20, 2017 Monday, February 20 2017 Monday, February 20, 2017 6:30:00 PM CST in News
COLUMBIA - In the past two decades, the number of fatal opioid overdoses has skyrocketed, and the medical community has... More >>
1 day ago February 20, 2017 Feb 20, 2017 Monday, February 20 2017 Monday, February 20, 2017 3:42:00 PM CST in News
COLUMBIA – As unusually warm weather brings a feeling of early spring across Missouri, it also speeds up the lawn... More >>
1 day ago February 20, 2017 Feb 20, 2017 Monday, February 20 2017 Monday, February 20, 2017 3:27:00 PM CST in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 67°
6pm 63°
7pm 61°
8pm 58°
9pm 56°

Select a station to view its upcoming schedule:

Coming Up Next

5:00p
KOMU 8 News @ 5
5:30p
NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt
6:00p
KOMU 8 News @ 6
5:00p
American Dad!
5:30p
American Dad!
6:00p
Family Guy

Tonight's Schedule

7:00p
The Wall
8:00p
This Is Us
9:00p
Chicago Fire
7:00p
The Flash
8:00p
DC's Legends of Tomorrow
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30p
Seinfeld