Lunch in the Park Gives Kids Healthy Meals

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COLUMBIA - The Columbia/Boone County Department of Public Health and Human Services kicked off its 14th annual Lunch in the Park program this week.

Every weekday this summer from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., children 18 years old and younger can receive a healthy lunch at Douglass Park. However, lunch will not be served on July 4. The U.S. Department of Agriculture funds the program which is an extension of the free and reduced lunch program during the school year.

The USDA provides a Summer Food Service Program that funds several free lunch programs across the country. The meals must meet federal nutrition guidelines, and the meals must be served at approved at approved locations.

Columbia Public Schools are responsible for preparing the meals for Lunch in the Park, while volunteers serve the food. Anyone interested in volunteering to help with the program can contact the Voluntary Action Center.

The program served an average of 100 children each day in previous years.

Lunch in the Park will continue through August 8.