School’s summer lunch program ready to roll

MANISTEE — With one week of regular classes left in the 2017-18 school year, many school districts will be closing down portions of their operations for the summer.

Students at Brethren Schools take part in the 2017 Meet Up and Eat Up program that gives free lunches to children 18 years and younger at various times over the summer. The program is being run this year by the Kaleva Norman Dickson and Manistee Area Public School systems.

Students at Brethren Schools take part in the 2017 Meet Up and Eat Up program that gives free lunches to children 18 years and younger at various times over the summer. The program is being run this year by the Kaleva Norman Dickson and Manistee Area Public School systems.

However, one department at Kaleva Norman Dickson and the Manistee Area Public Schools that will stay busy is their food service departments. That is because both districts will be running the Michigan Department of Education Meet Up and Eat Up summer food programs that give children 18 years and younger a free breakfast and lunch.

Both districts have run this program for several years with good success, and Kaleva Norman Dickson food service director Tim Klenow said they will be offereing their summer food program in two segments this year at Brethren School.

“We start June 18 and will run until July 24 for our first part and then we will take a few weeks off,” said Klenow. “That will be Monday through Thursday. Breakfast is 9:30 a.m. to 9:45 a.m. and lunch will be 11:45 to 12:15 p.m. This is free and we just want to let people know about it, so they can take advantage of it.”

This year the KND school officials opted to run their summer school program differently doing it closer to the start of the 2018-19 school year. Prior to this year, the district traditionally did summer school right after the present school year let out in the spring. They feel the move will help prepare students better for the start of the new school year.

“Our summer school starts Aug. 13 and we will run until Aug. 24,” said Klenow. “The second part we will offer the food program Monday through Friday, and we are still waiting to determine the times for that one.”

Manistee Area Public Schools food service director Keri Carlson said they will be starting the week after school ends and running Monday through Thursday from  June 11 to Aug. 22 at Manistee Middle/High School but will be closed July 2-6. Breakfast will be from 9 to 9:30 a.m. and lunch from 11:30 to 12:30 p.m. They will also run a second site at CASMAN Academy from June 4 to June 21. Breakfast will be from 9 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. and lunch from noon to 12:30 p.m.

“At the Manistee Middle/High School we will be running Monday through Thursday until the middle of July and then we are going to run Monday through Friday, and that is specifically because of programming going on here,” said Carlson.

Klenow said this year the requirements are the same for the free breakfast and lunch.

“This is free for anyone age 18 and under in the community or anyone in this area,” said Klenow. “If they are visiting family or friends anyone can come to the school or where we are hosting it. Children don’t have to sign their name or anything; they just come in and get a free lunch.”

What is also nice about the program is for $3 an adult accompanying a group of children can also purchase a lunch. However, the one rule that the MDE stipulates is no parents or adults can eat food off a child’s tray.

Klenow said the menus are more summer type foods for the lunches.

“We do a lot of cooler type things as we don’t do soups or anything like that,” said Klenow. “I am trying to do a lot more smoothie bars and parfait bars for the summer. Last year we did some cool parfait bars for the summer and it is kind of nice to have something cold when it is hot out. The summer program doesn’t regulate calories like it does for the National School Lunch Program, which lets us give bigger and more filling portions and they can leave full for sure.”

Klenow said they are also planning to take advantage of local fruits and vegetable seasons to get more of those items in the menu.

Another added incentive is they are giving away some nice prizes to get kids in the door.

“The kids that have the most attendance will be entered in a raffle, and we will be giving away two bikes in June and two in August,” he said.

“At the end of June we will be hosting lunch by the lake in Wellston for any kids that are at the beach there,” said Klenow. “We also will be opening the school library the last two Wednesdays in June and every other Wednesday after that during the day and lunch time. So anyone can take one of those options.”

Carlson said they also plan to run a lunch on Children’s Day during the Forest Festival. It was extremely popular last year with the kids and they look forward to it.

“Last year we served over 250 hot dogs on that day down at First Street Beach,” said Carlson.

Anyone interested in checking out what they have on the menu on a particular day for the summer food program can do so by going on the school’s website. Just like the KND program, it is free to any child 18 years of age or to persons up to age 26 who are enrolled in an educational program for the mentally or physically handicapped.

 

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Posted by Ken Grabowski

Ken is News Advocate’s education reporter. He coordinates coverage for all Manistee County schools and West Shore Community College. He can be reached by phone at (231) 398-3125 or by email at kgrabowski@pioneergroup.com.

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