Lincoln Gives Free Meals To Kids

Washington County Enterprise-Leader - - FRONT PAGE - By Lynn Kut­ter

LINCOLN — Lincoln Con­sol­i­dated School Dis­trict is one of many schools in Wash­ing­ton County pro­vid­ing a free break­fast and free lunch for chil­dren over the sum­mer.

Most days, meals are served at Lincoln High cafe­te­ria. For one week, meals will be avail­able in­stead at the ele­men­tary school.

Valerie Dawson, di­rec­tor of Lincoln’s child nu­tri­tion pro­gram, said the sum­mer meals are to pro­vide for chil­dren’s needs.

“We’re here to feed kids,” Dawson said. “Ev­ery kid eats free.”

She said Lincoln is like many ar­eas in Wash­ing­ton County. The com­mu­nity has chil­dren who are strug­gling with hunger and when school is out, meals are not avail­able to them. About 70 per­cent of Lincoln stu­dents qual­ify for the fed­eral free and re­duced-price lunch pro­gram dur­ing the school year.

Dawson said Lincoln is sched­ul­ing its meals when many stu­dents will be on cam­pus for dif­fer­ent camps and ac­tiv­i­ties, but the pro­gram is avail­able for any chil­dren 18 years of age and younger. It is not limited to a ge­o­graph­i­cal area and is open to any chil­dren who can make it to the school.

“We have one child who comes in ev­ery­day for lunch and break­fast,” Dawson said. “I’m just glad we’re able to do that.”

Adults can pur­chase meals, $2.25 for break­fast and $3.75 for lunch.

Lincoln is able to pro­vide the meals through the Child Nu­tri­tion Unit with Arkansas De­part­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion.

Lincoln pro­vides the la­bor and food for the meals but will submit the num­ber of meals served per day to the state. The hope, Dawson said, is the school dis­trict will re­ceive enough re­im­burse­ment from the state to off­set Lincoln’s costs.

The num­ber of kids show­ing up for each meal varies greatly ac­cord­ing to what’s go­ing on at the build­ing. Dur­ing the first week, Lincoln fed about 100 stu­dents each day dur­ing a bas­ket­ball camp. Other days, the num­ber of chil­dren served has been a lot less.

“If we can serve 40-60 kids a day, that’s good,” Dawson said.

Dawson said Lincoln has pro­vided a sum­mer meal pro­gram at least since 2010, pos­si­bly be­fore then. She’s worked for Lincoln since 2010.

In Fayet­teville, the main lo­ca­tion for the sum­mer meal pro­gram is Owl Creek School on Rup­ple Road. Free lunches are avail­able at Owl Creek from 10:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. and snacks from 1-3 p.m. Mon­day-Fri­day.

LYNN KUT­TER EN­TER­PRISE-LEADER

Lesa Owens, food ser­vice di­rec­tor with Ara­mark for Lincoln schools, hands over a free lunch to Hope Lewis, 10, of Cane Hill, last week at Lincoln High School. The meal this day was BBQ rib sand­wich, sweet car­rots, wa­ter­melon slice and milk. Cafe­te­ria...

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