Caroline school district continues summer meal program
— Summer is a time for play, relaxation and recharging for students before the upcoming school year.
But summer could also mean missed meals for children who get the majority of their meals through the school system.
Caroline County Public Schools has been recognized for its innovated food service program, providing free breakfast in the classroom and free lunch to students each school year.
Caroline students don’t have to go hungr y when the summer bell rings because the CCPS Food Services provides free breakfast and lunch at three Caroline Recreation and Parks five-week camps, at a camp at Ridgely Elementary while also providing a free lunches Monday through Friday to children 18 years old and under at the Caroline County Public Library in Denton.
“We want to feed kids. That is our mission for Caroline County Public Schools,” said CCPS Food Operations Manager Samantha Figueroa. “We need to provide meals for children because so many only get food when they are at school. During the school year, they get breakfast everyday in the classroom, then get lunch. We have such a need in this community so we continue the program through the summer.”
Caroline schools began its summer food program more than a decade ago in partnership with Caroline County Recreation and
Parks, which hosts summer camps at Federalsburg, Greensboro and Denton. The meals at breakfast and lunch the students receive are at no extra charge for the campers. About 160 children were registered for each camp, which ended in July. Local daycares were welcomed at the camps for free meals each day.
“The summer program, if they are enrolled, is another way for us to meet that need with breakfast and lunch,” Figueroa said. “We have a great partnership with Parks and Recreation. We have run a very successful program for more than a decade. It has grown each year. Parks and Recreation does a fantastic job with their summer programs.”
The Ridgely Lions Club assists Caroline County Public Schools by making fruit donations throughout the year at Ridgely Elementary as part of the Fuel Up to Play 60.
This summer, the Lions Club donated more than 20 cases of fresh fruit at Caroline County Public Schools. The fruit included oranges, bananas, grapes and nectarines.
“They have been great to us,” Figueroa said. “The Ridgely Lions Club during the school year donates fresh fruit to Ridgely Elementary quite often, usually apples and oranges. This summer they have been very helpful with the summer camps.
“Having this fresh fruit is huge because we put out several different kinds each day,” she said. “We don’t open a can during the summer. We do a lot with local farms in Caroline County. We have a lot of resources here, and appreciate the organizations and businesses that donate to the program.”
The food service does not stop with the three camps. CCPS provides free breakfast and lunch for a camp at Ridgely Elementar y.
Also in the last few years, Caroline County Public Library has partnered with CCPS food services to provide a free lunch to children 18 years old or younger. Food service staff packs meals at Denton Elementary, then the library picks up the meals and serves them to any child for free at the Denton library at 1 p.m.
The library meal services also extend through August.
“Denton Library reached out to us because they have kids who can’t afford to do the camp program, but come to the library during the day and don’t have anything to eat,” Figueroa said. “We know the children at the library are getting one good, substantial meal at the library in the summer. We will package meals out of the Chesapeake Culinary Center for the month of August for the library.”
For more information on Caroline County Public Schools Food Services, call the school board at 410-479-1460.
Camp counselor and Colonel Richardson High graduate Chris Smith eats lunch with children at the Denton Elementary Caroline Parks and Recreation summer camp.