MANKATO — Two years ago, Mankato Area Public Schools began offering a summer meals program at two elementary schools, Hoover and Kennedy.
Then last year the program more than doubled with free breakfast and lunch being offered to any child age 18 and younger at five schools in the district. East High School, Rosa Parks Elementary and Roosevelt Elementary also began offering the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s summer food service program, said Ron Schirmers, food service director.
This year the program is staying consistent with meals being once again offered at all five sites.
“Some of our sites were having 20 to 25 (people) a day,” Schirmers said. “We're hoping it will get even better this year.”
Breakfast and lunch are being served weekdays, and the locations have been determined by areas with the most need based on free and reduced lunch populations or neighborhood census data. The children who take part do not have to attend the schools or any school in the district.
Between the USDA program, as well as summer school sessions being held at schools in the district, hundreds of meals per day are served in the summer.
The meals consist of the same foods served for school lunches during the school year.
Children do not have to register. They may show up at the school whenever and how often they wish during the service times.
Parents are also welcome to purchase a meal for $3.55.
“A lot of times, if parents don't have food for their kids, they probably don't have much for themselves either,” Schirmers said last year.
The program runs weekdays starting Wednesday and running until Aug. 22. Meals will not be served July 4.
Breakfast will be served 7-8:30 a.m. and lunch is 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Schools participating in the summer food service program are: