Summer break means no tests and no homework, but for low-income kids, that can mean one less meal a day. Over 20 million kids in the U.S. are eligible for free or reduced-priced meals during the regular school year.
School districts and community organizations across Wyoming run Summer Food Service Programs, with support from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, to provide free meals to kids who need them.
Wes Clark, the Food Service Director for the Teton County School District #1, said his summer food program serves breakfast and lunch Monday through Thursday at the Colter Elementary School to anyone under 18.
“During school, they are able to go through the school lunch line and get a good meal but during the summer, a lot of the time they’re actually left home because mom and dad, or both guardians, are working two or three jobs to make ends meet,” said Clark.
He said it’s one of the most rewarding programs he runs.
“You see kids who come every single day, breakfast and lunch. They bring their little brothers and sisters in, and that’s what makes the program worth it,” said Clark. “Knowing that even in Jackson, a place that has one of the highest per capita incomes, especially in the state of Wyoming, that there are still people in need.”
Clark said he serves more than 150 kids a day. Parents can join their kids, but they have to pay $2 for breakfast and $4 for lunch. To find a summer food program in your area, call 211.