Lunch program feeds students over the summer

1 year 8 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
loading

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
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Three people have been charged in the stabbing death of a Kansas man who was... More >>
12 minutes ago April 28, 2017 Apr 28, 2017 Friday, April 28 2017 Friday, April 28, 2017 12:54:51 PM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY - The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and state and local agencies held a public meeting Friday to... More >>
13 minutes ago April 28, 2017 Apr 28, 2017 Friday, April 28 2017 Friday, April 28, 2017 12:53:00 PM CDT in News
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A zoo in western Missouri will soon have a saltwater tank allowing visitors to pet... More >>
19 minutes ago April 28, 2017 Apr 28, 2017 Friday, April 28 2017 Friday, April 28, 2017 12:46:58 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA (AP) — An education official from Oregon will be interim chancellor for the University of Missouri Science and Technology.... More >>
26 minutes ago April 28, 2017 Apr 28, 2017 Friday, April 28 2017 Friday, April 28, 2017 12:40:16 PM CDT in News
SPRINGFIELD (AP) — Nearly 200 animals rescued from a home in southwest Greene County are being prepared for adoption at... More >>
34 minutes ago April 28, 2017 Apr 28, 2017 Friday, April 28 2017 Friday, April 28, 2017 12:32:22 PM CDT in News
SPRINGFIELD (AP) — The parents of a 10-year-old homicide victim have settled a wrongful death lawsuit with the man charged... More >>
41 minutes ago April 28, 2017 Apr 28, 2017 Friday, April 28 2017 Friday, April 28, 2017 12:25:00 PM CDT in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — A 6-year-old girl is dead after being struck by a hit-and-run driver in St. Louis. ... More >>
47 minutes ago April 28, 2017 Apr 28, 2017 Friday, April 28 2017 Friday, April 28, 2017 12:19:11 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - Police have arrested the three men they said are responsible for robbing a Columbia bank and leading officers... More >>
2 hours ago April 28, 2017 Apr 28, 2017 Friday, April 28 2017 Friday, April 28, 2017 10:25:39 AM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - Every last Friday of each month Cafe Berlin will fundraise to contribute to organizations that have experienced discrimination,... More >>
5 hours ago April 28, 2017 Apr 28, 2017 Friday, April 28 2017 Friday, April 28, 2017 7:55:00 AM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - Forty-eight Columbia churches will gather this weekend to participate in the third annual ForColumbia volunteer event, a city-wide... More >>
10 hours ago April 28, 2017 Apr 28, 2017 Friday, April 28 2017 Friday, April 28, 2017 2:59:00 AM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - The Columbia Police Department beat commanders hosted their first beat meeting with the northeast Columbia community for the... More >>
14 hours ago April 27, 2017 Apr 27, 2017 Thursday, April 27 2017 Thursday, April 27, 2017 10:24:00 PM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Missouri House members want more information on how much money the state is paying in lawsuit... More >>
17 hours ago April 27, 2017 Apr 27, 2017 Thursday, April 27 2017 Thursday, April 27, 2017 7:48:03 PM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — The Missouri Senate has passed a bond measure for a new music and dance conservatory at... More >>
17 hours ago April 27, 2017 Apr 27, 2017 Thursday, April 27 2017 Thursday, April 27, 2017 7:43:00 PM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY - A Columbia woman pleaded guilty Thursday in federal court to embezzling $231,600 from her employer, Shelter Insurance... More >>
18 hours ago April 27, 2017 Apr 27, 2017 Thursday, April 27 2017 Thursday, April 27, 2017 6:12:00 PM CDT in News
CAMDEN, N.J. (AP) — A Honduran man who entered the United States illegally three times has pleaded guilty to kidnapping... More >>
19 hours ago April 27, 2017 Apr 27, 2017 Thursday, April 27 2017 Thursday, April 27, 2017 5:25:40 PM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Som e Missouri lawmakers want to shield lodging websites such as Airbnb from local ordinances that... More >>
19 hours ago April 27, 2017 Apr 27, 2017 Thursday, April 27 2017 Thursday, April 27, 2017 5:16:31 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA (AP) — The four-campus Unive rsity of Missouri s ystem is proposing raising tuition and required fees of in-state... More >>
20 hours ago April 27, 2017 Apr 27, 2017 Thursday, April 27 2017 Thursday, April 27, 2017 5:04:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - The University of Missouri released new and revised policies relating to protests and free speech on campus, including... More >>
20 hours ago April 27, 2017 Apr 27, 2017 Thursday, April 27 2017 Thursday, April 27, 2017 4:10:00 PM CDT in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 56°
2pm 64°
3pm 66°
4pm 67°
5pm 68°

Select a station to view its upcoming schedule:

Coming Up Next

1:00p
Days of Our Lives
2:00p
The Dr. Oz Show
3:00p
Dr. Phil
1:00p
Maury
2:00p
Judge Alex
2:30p
Judge Alex

Tonight's Schedule

7:00p
First Dates
8:00p
Dateline NBC
7:00p
The Originals
8:00p
Reign
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30p
Seinfeld