GREENFIELD — Free meals will be available to children at eight locations throughout Greenfield this summer.
Greenfield-Central Community School Corporation is participating in the Summer Food Service Program, which offers meals to children 18 and younger. The program also provides meals to those older than 18 who are enrolled in state-approved educational programs for the mentally or physically disabled.
For the past 50 years, the program has been funded and operated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and administered by the states, according to a news release from the Indiana Department of Education. The USDA reimburses participating organizations, which must adhere to department regulations, including meal service and record-keeping.
Amanda Hord, assistant food service director for Greenfield-Central Community School Corporation, said schools don’t have to worry whether students are getting healthy meals when they’re in school. Thanks to the Summer Food Service Program, schools don’t have to worry about students during the months they’re out of class either, she said.
“It ensures that our kiddos that need fed get fed during the summer,” Hord said.
The school corporation has been participating in the program for the past several years, she continued, adding turnouts have been steady. A serving site set up at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Hancock County draws an average of around 50 to 60 a day, Hord said. The location that the YMCA and Harris Elementary School host serves about 30 to 35.
Hord, who has lived in Greenfield for 22 years and has five children of her own, said it’s hard not to worry about children going hungry.
“It really does hit home,” she said.
Statistics illuminate the need. Almost 1,250 Greenfield-Central students — almost 28% — get free meals under federal guidelines, according to Indiana Department of Education data. More than 330 students — over 7% — get reduced-price meals.
The Summer Food Service Program, which is free to any child, will serve breakfasts and lunches in Greenfield on a first-come, first-serve basis on weekdays from June 3 through July 26. It will be closed July 3 through 5.
Breakfast menu items include sausage, egg and cheese biscuits; pancake wraps; French toast; fruits; and cereal. Lunch will offer entrees like pizza, quesadillas, popcorn chicken and spaghetti along with sides of fruits and vegetables.
Greenfield-Central is the only Hancock County school corporation participating in the program.
Maria Bond, director of community relations for Mt. Vernon Community School Corporation, said the corporation won’t be participating this year due to low turnouts last summer.
Indiana Department of Education data reports that Mt. Vernon has almost 800 students — nearly 19% — getting free meals this school year and almost 240 students getting reduced-price meals.
About 400 students get free and reduced-price meals at Eastern Hancock. Southern Hancock has more than 800 on the program.
According to an Indiana Department of Education press release, more than 260 sponsors, including school corporations, local governments and nonprofit agencies, participated in the Summer Food Service Program last year. The sponsors served almost 2.7 million meals at more than 1,400 feedings sites across Indiana.
“Despite the large number of meals served, less than one out of every five low-income Indiana children receiving free or reduced lunch during the school year take advantage of the free meals offered during the summer months,” the press release states.
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Greenfield Summer Food Service Program
Weekdays June 3 through July 26, closed July 3 through 5
Boys & Girls Clubs of Hancock County
715 E. Lincoln St.
Breakfast: 7:30 to 8:30 a.m.
Lunch: 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
YMCA – Harris Elementary School
200 W. Park Ave.
Breakfast: 8 to 8:30 a.m.
Lunch: 11:30 to 11:45 a.m.
Greenfield-Central High School
810 N. Broadway, Door 14
Breakfast: 8 to 9 a.m.
Lunch: 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Riley Shelter House (Kids Kamp at the Shelter House)
210 Apple St.
Breakfast: 7:30 to 8:30 a.m.
Lunch: 11:30 a.m. to noon
Public outside Shelter House
210 Apple St.
Lunch: Noon to 12:30 p.m.
Apostolic Pentecostal Church
1202 E. Fifth St.
Lunch: 12:45 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Faith Apostolic Church
70 Tyler Ave.
Lunch: 12:30 to 1:15 p.m.
779 W. New Road
Lunch: Noon to 12:30 p.m., public will be served outside of daycare from 12:30 to 1 p.m.
Faith Lutheran Church
200 W. McKenzie Road
Lunch: Noon to 12:45 p.m.